More turbulence at McCann as US boss Robert LePlae leaves the agency

Former TBWA/Chiat Day executive Robert LePlae only joined McCann Erickson in 2009 but now he’s on his way as McCann Worldgroup boss Nick Brien’s cultural revolution at the giant Interpublic-owned agency continues.

As North American president LePlae was responsible for the agency’s US and Canadian operations. His departure follows that of chief strategy officer Lee Daley who resigned spectacularly in July.

Whereas in Daley’s resignation letter it was pretty easy to see a wide area of disagreement with Brien, Some corporate work has clearly gone into LePlae’s comments.

He says: “It’s been a great experience to be part of the McCann Worldgroup transformation plan. Over the past two years, I’ve worked with some fantastic people, wonderful clients, and laid the foundation for sustained profitable growth and a competitive and creative culture. I’ll be watching McCann Worldgroup with great anticipation, and wish the leadership team success in reaching the ambitious heights they’ve set out to achieve.”

“Ambitious heights” is the key to all this of course and maybe LePlae isn’t wholly convinced that Brien and his fellow mountaineer, new chairman and CCO of both New York and London Linus Karlsson, are equipped to achieve them. At Omnicom’s TBWA he would have had plenty of opportunities to observe a fully-functioning creative network at close quarters.

LePlae says he’s going to pursue new business opportunities, Brien says he isn’t going to be replaced any time soon: “We wish Robert all the best for his future, and we have no immediate plans to replace his specific role. I have great confidence in the strong leadership of our individual US agencies.”

Removing layers of management is no bad thing if it’s radical change you’re seeking but it certainly looks as though Karlsson and newly hired Swedish sidekicks Andreas Dahlqvist from DDB Stockholm and Matias Palm-Jensen, founder of the now closed agency Farfar, are making waves.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.