Exodus From Leagas Delaney

In response to their leader’s attempt to sell the agency to a global parent, the top managers of Leagas Delaney’s office here, including two of its co-founders, are leaving.

Managing director Courtney Buechert, creative directors Harry Cocciolo and Sean Ehringer, and Rob Kabus, director of strategic planning, will stay anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on what the clients and staff need, the executives said. The moves come as London-based Leagas seeks to be acquired by a global network, said Buechert, speaking for the group.

“We do not want to manage on a global scale,” said Buechert. “We do not want to participate in the expansion and capitalization strategy of the company. That is not what we signed up for.”

Leagas has been in negotiations for several months to be acquired by Envoy Communications, an international e-marketing network, but those talks recently stalled because of the sluggish economy. Sources said Leagas is still looking for a buyer.

“We … realize that even people as committed as Harry, Sean, Courtney and Rob will sometimes have other ambitions that they need to satisfy,” said Tim Delaney, Leagas group CEO.

None of the departing executives has made a commitment yet to take another position, Buechert said.

Helping to fill the void created by the departures is Vince Engel, who last week was named president, executive creative director of Leagas, here. He was formerly ecd of Lowe Lintas & Partners in San Francisco.

Leagas in San Francisco, which opened five years ago and hired Cocciolo and Ehringer a few years later, has 45 staffers. Among its major clients are Adidas and Sega Sports.

All four of the departing executives earlier in their careers worked at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, here. Cocciolo and Ehringer worked as a team at the shop on the Nike account, among others.

Leagas in San Francisco was forced to lay off about 40 percent of its staff last February due to the economic downturn.

Leagas executives in London and San Francisco are in “agreement in the the continued existence of the San Francisco office,” which is the agency’s sole presence in the United States, Buechert said.