Gotham Seeks New Creative Chief

Search coincides with another for head of strategy

Gotham is searching for a new creative chief as Marty Orzio leaves the agency after four years.

The agency’s search is down to a handful of candidates with a hire expected in January, according to Nick Johnson, Gotham’s CEO. Orzio, who joined Gotham as chief creative officer in early 2009, will exit the Interpublic Group shop at the end of the month.

Johnson and Orzio described the parting as amicable and said it stemmed from a series of conversations that they had earlier in the year. Johnson framed the move as part of a reengineering of the agency that dated back to 2011.

Orzio is an “extremely thoughtful creative and good person,” Johnson added. “With changes we’ve made over the past 15 months and where we are as an agency, it was time for a change.”

The change in creative leadership coincides with Gotham’s search to fill its top strategic planning role. That vacancy was created by the September exit of Alan Snitow, who became director of integration at DDB in Chicago. Johnson expects to fill that post this month.

Before Gotham, Orzio was CCO at Omnicom Group’s Energy BBDO in Chicago. Earlier in his career, he worked on brands such as Lipitor and Mercedes-Benz at Merkley Newman Harty and Lowe & Partners/SMS.

Upon leaving Gotham, Orzio intends to freelance. He’s also thinking about teaching, writing and maybe even opening his own shop.

“Part of ‘creative’ means doing something different,” Orzio said. “You have to make time to do this and it can’t be while you’re working.”

At Gotham, Orzio was known in particular for his work on the Denny’s account. He was part of the team that won the business in 2010 and even attended the restaurant’s annual franchisee meeting last month, albeit in a more supporting role than in the past. This time, group cds Reid Miller and Anthony Moss—not Orzio—led the presentation of the next wave of ads.

About 15 staffers work in Gotham’s creative department. Other agency accounts include Maybelline, Best Western hotels, Britax and the Citi AAdvantage card.