Gaffney Exits MPG

NEW YORK John Gaffney, COO of Havas’ Media Planning Group USA, has been let go, according to sources, though a company representative confirmed only that Gaffney had left the agency.

Gaffney, who could not be reached for comment, had held the position since May 2002, and before that was president of Havas’ Arnold MPG.

Gaffney was based in Boston and reported to Charles Rutman, who joined MPG as CEO of North American operations earlier this year.

Both Gaffney and Rutman are media veterans, and sources said it was the “redundant” nature of their skill sets that led to Gaffney’s departure.

“This was an organizational move and wasn’t about John Gaffney,” or his performance, said a source familiar with the situation.

Gaffney’s direct reports on the buying side, including Bill McOwen, evp in charge of national broadcast, and Phyllis Maguire, who heads local broadcast buying, now report to Rutman.

Boston-based planning executives who reported to Gaffney now report to Ellen Comley, who joined MPG’s Boston office as svp and managing director a month ago. She had been managing director of WPP’s MediaCom in San Francisco.

Following a review in January, MPG lost its portion of Volkswagen’s estimated $400 million North American buying business to MediaCom in New York. VW switched its creative chores last week from Arnold to MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami.

—with Lisa van der Pool