JWT Looks for ECD

J. Walter Thompson is likely to give candidates from within its network top consideration forthe Detroit executive creative director’s post vacated by Bruce Rooke, sources said.

The agency began the process of searching for a replacement for Rooke, who is joining Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & As-sociates, a shop that focuses on healthcare marketing in Columbus, Ohio, as chief creative officer.

Rooke, who joined JWT Detroit in 1985, has overseen Ford Motor Co. creative since August 1997. He had signed a contract with GS/W before giving notice to JWT, sources said.

Rooke could not be reached for comment.

JWT Detroit’s current group creative directors, along with senior cd Michael Priebe, will oversee the creative department until a new ecd is found, said Mike O’Malley, JWT Detroit president, in a statement.

A replacement from another JWT office is a possibility, sources said. In addition to top JWT and WPP Group executives, the selection will be offered to Ford officials for their approval.

There was no indication that the client was dissatisfied with Rooke. In fact, Ford marketing communications manager Rich Stoddart late last month singled out Rooke for praise in lauding recent work from the agency, including the “Ford on Ford” ads featuring the automaker’s CEO, Bill Ford.

O’Malley also spoke highly of Rooke’s leadership. “All of us who have been privileged to work with him wish Bruce much continued success and satisfaction with his chosen career move,” he said.