McCann Taps LePlae as N.A. President

NEW YORK Robert LePlae, the 49-year-old former president of Omnicom’s TBWA North American group of companies, has been named president of Interpublic’s McCann Erickson North America, a new role at the company.

LePlae, who will be based in San Francisco, will have responsibility for McCann Erickson San Francisco and T.A.G., McCann Erickson Detroit, McCann Erickson Los Angeles and McCann Erickson Canada. He will not have oversight of McCann New York and other independent Worldgroup agencies, which will continue to report into Eric Keshin, COO, McCann Worldgroup, regional director of McCann Erickson North America.

Matt Ross, evp, McCann Worldgroup, S.F., CEO of global Microsoft, is relinquishing those titles. In a release, McCann said “Matt Ross, who has headed McCann’s San Francisco operations since 2005, will work with LePlae through the transition and then take on another board level role within Worldgroup, which will be announced soon.”

Over the past 19 months, McCann Worldgroup has lost its lead status on flagship Microsoft. Earlier this month, McCann Erickson lost its Microsoft Office assignment to JWT, the second major Microsoft loss of business at the agency. Worldgroup’s MRM unit also lost it share of the software giant’s global direct marketing assignment. While McCann’s T.A.G. unit recently won a new mobile assignment, the agency has not prevailed in two other reviews for major new pieces of business.

“Robert (LePlae) has an extraordinary track record of success in both his agency leadership posts and his successful stewardship of some of the world’s most famous brands,” Eric Keshin, COO, said in a statement. “We’re delighted that he is joining us, and look forward to his helping us drive our clients’ success and our own in North America.”

In February, LePlae, known for his ties to client Nissan, left Omnicom’s TBWA after nearly 11 years. In his latest role at TBWA, he was responsible for TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles and New York, TBWA Canada, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, as well as marketing services units including Tequila, TBWA\WorldHealth, The Disruption Consultancy and an Omnicom independent advertising agency, Cutwater.

LePlae joined the Playa del Rey, Calif., office of TBWA\C\D in May 1998 as a managing director and a year later moved to Tokyo to become president and CEO of G1/Worldwide, the agency’s joint venture with Hakuhodo on Nissan.
He returned to the Playa del Rey office in 2001 as president and CEO, assuming his N.A. role in September 2005. At the time, he shifted to the New York office to fill the gap left by the exit of TBWA New York Group president Brett Gosper. TBWA has not filled the N.A. role, given that its two U.S offices already have business and creative leaders.