Lee Garfinkel Takes N.Y. CEO Role at Draftfcb

Leaves Havas Worldwide after almost 3 years

Lee Garfinkel is leaving Havas Worldwide after nearly three years to run the New York office of Draftfcb as its new CEO.

At Havas Worldwide, Garfinkel was chief creative officer of global brands and chairman of New York. Since the summer, however, the shop has installed new leaders in New York, with global co-president Andrew Benett assuming the role of CEO in June and Darren Moran becoming New York chief creative officer in August. As a result of the moves, Garfinkel's role has shrunk. 

Draftfcb, meanwhile, has made a series of top executive hires recently under new global CEO Carter Murray. In September, Murray hired Nigel Jones as worldwide chief strategy officer and Chris Shumaker as North American chief marketing officer. Now, he's adding veteran leadership to a key office.

“Some of the best agency leaders have come from creative backgrounds and I believe that Lee, with his strong creative reputation, is absolutely the right CEO for our New York office," said Murray, who added that he has "high ambitions" for New York.

Top accounts in the office, which employs about 175 staffers, include Fisher-Price, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Amtrak.

Garfinkel, who before Havas was chairman and chief creative officer at DDB in New York, characterized his new job as "something much more entrepreneurial than what I have been doing recently and it's something that I have been looking to want to do for a while. I really wanted to be more hands-on and be involved in all facets of the business."

Garfinkel added that there are "really not a lot of creative people running offices of major agencies. And I think that's to the detriment of the industry right now. I mean, why shouldn't the people that actually create the work and know how to do that be running the agency? I see it as a great opportunity."

When he arrives in January, Garfinkel will become the top executive in New York and join a management team that includes chief creative officer Javier Campopiano and chief strategy officer Sara Bamber. Draftfcb Healthcare, with more than 700 staffers, is not part of his remit and remains under the leadership of CEO Dana Maiman and chief creative officer Rich Levy.

As a result of the hire, Debra Coughlin, the agency's global chief marketing officer and New York general manager, will shed her New York role, according to Murray. Coughlin helped lead the office after Maiman relinquished the position of New York president of the ad agency in January.

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