Y&R Shuffles Deck

Kary McIlwain said she plans to keep the focus on Young & Rubicam Chicago’s creative output in her new post as CEO of the office.

McIlwain, 42, former COO of Y&R Chicago, will retain her role as senior manager on the shop’s key Sears, Roebuck and Co. account and said she has no plans for major changes at the agency.

“We put the train on the right track 18 months ago, and we’re still on the right track,” McIlwain said.

Howard Breen, who had led the shop, was promoted to chairman and CEO of the agency’s North America Regions, one of three regional chiefs for the agency on the continent. Breen, 45, will oversee Y&R offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Canada; the domestic operations of the Miami and Detroit offices; SicolaMartin, Austin, Texas; The Bravo Group Miami; and Kang & Lee Advertising, New York.

Ron Bess continues to lead Y&R’s flagship office in New York as president and CEO, and David Murphy heads the Irvine, Calif., office. All report to Ed Vick worldwide CEO, who acknowledged the triumverate represents the next generation of Y&R leadership. “That’s a big-picture thought—yeah,” he said.

This is the second time this year that McIlwain and Breen’s duties have been reshuffled in the Chicago office. In January, McIlwain was promoted to president and COO and Breen to the Chicago shop’s chairman and director of mergers and acquisition—duties he retains.

The executive changes come one week before the agency begins company-wide planning for operations in 2002, Breen said. “So it makes sense for us now to figure out what our rules of engagement are,” Breen said.

McIlwain joined Y&R in 1988. Breen started with the Toronto agency in 1996.

Y&R’s Chicago roster includes Sears, Jim Beam and new products for Miller Brewing Co.