Sciarrotta to Ogilvy

A year-long search for a chief creative at Ogilvy & Mather led to Joe Sciarrotta, whose task is to forge a fresh creative identity for an office long dominated by Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Sciarrotta will take on a dual role at Ogilvy as chief of the agency’s 55-member creative department and co-head of the agency with managing director Linda Garrison.

Sciarrotta reports to Rick Boyko, chief creative officer of Ogilvy North America and president of the agency’s New York headquarters. He replaces Tom Hall, who served as chairman and chief executive officer of Ogilvy Chicago before leaving to start a consulting firm earlier this year.

Sciarrotta, who worked at J. Walter Thompson and what was then DDB Needham before founding The Leap Partnership in 1993, said that in taking the job, the Ogilvy brand was more important to him than the Chicago office’s less-than-sterling creative reputation. He said a seamless relationship between Chicago and the rest of the Ogilvy network convinced him Chicago can become more of a player.

“I want to help us to be able to help out the New York office just as much as they can help us,” he said. “I worked at places where there were constant inner fights between the New York office and Chicago. Ogilvy Chicago is not like that.”

The Sciarrotta-Garrison leadership team jibes with O&M’s management style that more closely ties together account management and creative departments in day-to-day operations.

Besides Sears, Ogilvy Chicago handles Breyers Ice Cream, the Illinois Lottery and Kimberly-Clark.

Sciarrotta left Leap late last year and most recently worked on special projects in Chicago for San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

His tenure with Leap was a bumpy one, as the shop started with high hopes of redefining the ad agency but wound up having a hard time retaining clients. It has now shifted its focus almost entirely to interactive work.

Sciarrotta retains an impressive creative résumé, with credits from JWT for 7-11 and Oscar Mayer, from DDB for Anheuser-Busch and from Leap for Miller Lite and, later, A-B’s Michelob.