JWT’s Harvey Marco to Helm Creative on Mazda

JWT New York chief creative officer Harvey Marco is leaving the agency to become CCO of the shop that WPP Group is creating for new client Mazda, JWT has confirmed.

The new shop, known as Team Mazda, will be based in Irvine, Calif., near the North American headquarters of Mazda. As planned, it will open in October with at least 100 staffers, a single profit and loss statement and its own top management team.

Revenue on the Mazda account, including both creative and media duties, is estimated at $25 million. A team of executives from WPP agencies won the business in June, and the handoff from Doner — the primary incumbent since 1997 — is expected to be completed in the next two months.

Marco, who contributed to the Mazda pitch, will exit JWT in September, two years after he arrived from Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi in Torrance, Calif. At Saatchi, he had been executive creative director, overseeing the development of work on Toyota, the office’s dominant client.

So, Team Mazda represents a chance for Marco to return to his West Coast roots and his experience of leading creative efforts on an automotive brand.

Upon joining JWT, he worked under then North American CCO Ty Montague. Montague, however, left in the spring, along with North American president Rosemarie Ryan. The duo is launching their own agency in New York.

JWT has yet to fill Montague’s post, which he vacated in early June. The shop, though, is said to be close to making several senior creative hires, including a new regional CCO.

A JWT representative declined to comment on specifics of the recruitment efforts.