Fay Takes CEO Post at Aegis Media N.A.

NEW YORK Sarah Fay has been named CEO of Aegis Media N.A., taking over responsibility for North American operations from David Verklin, whose title was CEO of Aegis Americas, the company said. Fay, 45, has helmed Carat’s U.S. operations.

Aegis’ South American ops, which Verklin also managed, will report to Aegis Media chief executive Mainardo de Nardis, as will Fay.

Verklin, 52, will continue to serve Aegis in an advisory capacity for several months before taking time off to consider his next move. Verklin said it is unlikely he would return to the agency business. “I’m looking at a bunch of different alternatives,” he said. “I don’t see myself coming back to the agency business.”

Both Verklin and de Nardis strongly denied that the former’s impending departure is linked to recent account losses, including the $800 million Hyudai/Kia business and New Line Cinema ($250 million), which recently moved to WPP’s MediaCom. (New Line was absorbed by Warner Bros., a MediaCom client.)

“It’s true we’ve lost a few accounts, but the North American business has grown every year for 10 years,” said de Nardis. He described Verklin’s departure as “very amicable.”

Verklin joined Carat in 1998 to establish a North and South American presence for the U.K.-based agency network. The shop has enjoyed considerable success over the past decade, amassing more than $7.5 billion in U.S. billings with revenue exceeding $300 million. But in recent months, the tide has turned, with the company $1 billion in client business.

Verklin said he first approached de Nardis about leaving the agency about a year ago and that both agreed a few months back that the timing of the departure should be tied his 10 year anniversary date at the agency in April 20. And 10 years is enough, he said. “That’s a long time to be at any one place,” he said.

Fay, who considers Verklin a mentor, is also a 10-year veteran of the agency and became CEO of Aegis digital shop Isobar U.S., in 2003. In July 2007, Fay was promoted to lead Carat USA, when the shop merged its digital and traditional media assets into one integrated operating unit.

In a memo to employees distributed Monday afternoon, de Nardis said Fay’s “track record in building client relationships that are true partnerships — our industry’s Holy grail — speaks for itself.”

In the same memo, de Nardis said of Verklin: “We are immensely fortunate to have had the benefit of his vision and leadership for a full decade. Over the years he has helped to create a business at the forefront of innovation, insight and diversification.”

Before joining Aegis, Verklin was managing director of Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco, having started his career in 1977 at Young & Rubicam.