Goodby Rehires Creative Leader

Shortly after losing four top creatives, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has strengthened the ranks of that department by rehiring an agency veteran.

Jon Soto, most recently a creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco, working under Chuck McBride, has moved back across town to the shop where he won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1998 for a Nike campaign.

Soto, 39, left Goodby last year for TBWA\C\D, where he worked on clients including Sony and Levi’s. Back at Goodby, he will work as an associate creative director with former partner Al Kelly.

“It feels right to be back,” Soto said last week. “I’m excited to work with Al again. It’s rare when you find a partner with the same rhythm as yourself. I think I did some of my best work here, and the vibe of the place has always been really friendly and warm.”

“Jon is sensitive, funny and extremely talented as a maker of unique work,” Goodby co-chairman Rich Silverstein said. “He’s also a wonderful person to have around. People love him, and to us he’s been part of the conscience of the agency. He never fools himself about the work.”

Prior to his first stint at Goodby, Soto worked as a creative at Mad Dogs & Englishmen in New York.

The hire comes at a good time for Goodby, which has lost a number of senior-level creatives recently. Paul Venables and Greg Bell left in May to start their own shop, Venables, Bell & Partners, with Microsoft’s UltimateTV as their first account. Separately, creative director Dante Lombardi and art director Andy Azula both left for McCann-Erickson, San Francisco, where they are teaming together on the $300-350 million Microsoft business.