N.A. CEO to Leave Lowe

NEW YORK Lowe North America CEO Nancy Hill is leaving the agency, slightly more than a year after she joined, sources said. Hill, who did not return calls for comment, joined Lowe in June 2006 and became a partner to chairman and chief creative officer Mark Wnek in New York.

Calls to agency executives, including Wnek and Lowe worldwide CEO Stephen Gatfield, were returned by a representative, who declined to comment. But sources said Hill would leave within the next four weeks and has yet to figure out her next move.

Hill’s departure comes as Lowe plans to lay off 60 to 70 employees due to the loss of national creative duties on General Motors’ GMC brand. Revenue generated by the GMC account, which is shifting to Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, will dry up as of Oct. 1, when the handoff to Burnett is complete. The GMC shift was part of a broader move by GM that also resulted in McCann Erickson losing its Buick business to Burnett.

Sources said the agency is not likely to fill the CEO slot, given its current scale and the fact that it already has a chairman (Wnek) and a president (Sal Taibi), both of whom are expected to absorb Hill’s duties.

The agency’s performance in new business, one of Hill’s key responsibilities, was lackluster during her tenure. Its largest win was XM Satellite Radio, which hired Lowe in September to handle creative duties on its $50 million account.

The office, with an assist from London, won global creative duties on Regent Hotels & Resorts and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a $20 million account, and Girl Scouts of the USA ($3-5 million). But the shop came up short in a pitch for New York City’s tourism business ($15-20 million) and its few wins paled in comparison to the loss of GMC, which generated more than $10 million in revenue.

The agency’s clients include Johnson & Johnson baby products, GM’s Saab, Unilever’s Degree and Snuggle and Perdue.

Before joining Lowe, Hill was a managing director at Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York.