Saatchi’s Gilbert to Step Down

LOS ANGELES Scott Gilbert, co-chief executive of Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saachi’s $3 billion office in New York, is retiring, and the agency is talking to outside candidates as it seeks a replacement, sources said.

Gilbert, 50, has run New York operations with co-chief executive Mike Burns since the beginning of the year, after the network’s worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts ended an unsuccessful three-year recruitment effort to find a single leader for the shop. Also at that time, he dissolved the four-person managing partnership that had been in place since 2000 and which included both Burns and Gilbert [Adweek, Dec. 18, 2003].

Gilbert, who has worked at Saatchi for almost a quarter century, moved east from the agency’s Toyota flagship office in Torrance, Calif., where he had also been CEO, in May 2003.

During Gilbert’s tenure as both managing partner and co-CEO, Saatchi New York has had a mixed record.

The shop successfully defended its $80 million Greater New York Toyota Dealers Association account and won the high-profile creative duties for the International Olympic Committee, but failed to defend its $115 million Tylenol business in a review and ultimately lost another $75 million in Tylenol parent Johnson & Johnson business, which it had handled for decades.

Meanwhile, Saatchi’ s New York general manager Vaughan Elmsley has taken on the task of ombudsman on another key global account, Procter & Gamble, sources said. He replaces Tim Love, who departed in April to join Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in the new post of president, global clients.