Strategic Planning Chief Exits Saatchi

NEW YORK Sandy Thompson (pictured), worldwide director of strategic planning at Saatchi & Saatchi here, has left the Publicis Groupe shop after 15 years.

A Saatchi representative confirmed Thompson’s exit but declined to comment further. Saatchi worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts is still mulling whether he’ll fill the position, according to sources. Thompson assumed the role in 2007.

Among her duties was managing a consumer research group that gleans insights from observing how people live. The process is known as Xploring, and JC Penney is a key Saatchi client that makes use of the service.

Before landing at the New York office four years ago — as head of planning for North America — Thompson worked at Saatchi in Hong Kong. She joined the network in 1994.

Thompson is the second global executive to leave the agency in the past seven months. In November, Bob Isherwood, Saatchi’s longtime worldwide creative director and partner to Roberts, exited after 22 years.

Separately, Saatchi is said to be close to filling the top strategic planning post for its New York operation. That person will succeed Kristin Volk, who left in May to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity in mobile marketing.