Modernista! Faces Post-GM Future

Independent Modernista!, retrenching as it prepares to bid farewell to longtime marquee client General Motors, has shuttered its Amsterdam, the Netherlands, office and made key management moves.

Matthew Charlton (shown), managing director in Amsterdam, now becomes overall agency president and Clift Jones, who held that title at the Boston HQ, moves to chief operating officer.

Apart from Charlton, about five other staffers were recently employed in Amsterdam. The shop’s only other significant office in Detroit will close once its contract with GM ends early next year.

In addition, Chris Wallrapp has been upped to CMO (he was client services director) and Matt Howell has been named chief interactive officer (he led the shop’s digital evolution over the past year, and has worked on the lauded Nike+ campaign at R/GA).

The shop also said it is in negotiations to hire a new chief strategic officer.

In broad terms, the moves are being made to better position Modernista!, for future growth in an increasingly digital and socially-driven media landscape.

Modernista! long handled Hummer for GM (the nameplate was spun off this year), and soon will lose Cadillac, as it is not participating in that brand’s ongoing $80 million creative review.

Overall, the agency employs about 100 staffers “including freelancers,” a rep said. That’s down from roughly 130 when Cadillac went into review two months ago.

Of late, the agency’s highest profile work has been a holiday campaign for Product (Red) and the much-discussed introductory ads for Palm Pre.