Lowe’s GMC Creative Chief Heads to DDB

NEW YORK Earl Cavanah, the creative leader on Lowe’s GMC business, is leaving to become a group creative director at Omnicom Group’s DDB.

GMC is part of General Motors, for which Lowe also handles Saab, and GM is the Interpublic Group shop’s largest client in New York.

Cavanah resigned from Lowe last week and is expected to start his new job next month. At DDB in New York, he will be the sixth group cd and be reunited with former Lowe chairman and chief creative officer Lee Garfinkel, who now holds those titles at DDB.

Garfinkel was not available for comment, but DDB New York president Peter Hempel said in a statement, “Earl is a great addition to our roster of top creative talent. Lee and I are delighted he’s joining our team.”

Cavanah’s brand assignments are still being hashed out, an agency representative said, but DDB’s top clients include Subaru, Philips and Anheuser-Busch.

Cavanah spent 33 years at Lowe and predecessor shop Scali, McCabe, Sloves, which Lowe acquired in 1993. He had worked on GMC since 1999 and helped develop the agency’s “We are professional grade” campaign, which launched in 2000 and continues today. His title was evp, creative group head, and he reported to Mark Wnek, chairman and chief creative officer of Lowe in New York.

“He’s a prince among men and will be sorely missed,” Wnek said of Cavanah.

Tom Quaglino, Cavanah’s partner and creative group head on GMC, will assume the departing executive’s duties, an agency representative said. Wnek is expected to fill Cavanah’s post. (Lowe has nine creative group heads.)

GMC spent about $175 million in major measured media during the first eight months of 2005 and more than $250 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Lowe’s other GM brand, Saab, spent more than $65 million between January and August and nearly $90 million last year, per Nielsen.