Souder Steps Down at Publicis & Hal Riney

NEW YORK Kirk Souder, president and executive creative director of Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, is leaving the agency at the end of the year to pursue a career in counseling psychology, he told the agency yesterday.

“It’s a lifestyle choice,” Souder told Adweek. Before joining the agency in April 2003, Souder, a cancer survivor, had spent much of his free time working with cancer patients. “In the past year I’ve come to understand that I really miss it,” he said.

Group creative directors Jae Goodman and Jon Soto will assume Souder’s creative duties as co-executive creative directors, said agency chairman and CEO Karen Francis, who joined the agency in November from Ford. “Kirk made the place attractive again and made you feel there was a buzz about the place again,” said Soto. “We’re sad to see him go.”

Souder is in the process of relocating from San Francisco to Los Angeles to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Santa Monica, but will not leave the advertising industry completely.

He will continue to work with the agency on a freelance basis, as well as other shops and clients, through a partnership called Granite Pass with Greg Beauchamp, former director of design at Ground Zero in Marina del Rey, Calif., which he co-founded in 1994.