38 year-old Carter Murray (left), a Brit who made his name in Europe with Leo Burnett and Publicis, is leaving his job as head of Y&R’s North American operations to take over from Laurence Boschetto as head of Interpublic’s troubled DraftFCB.
Murray told Ad Age: “I like big challenges and I like big opportunities and it would take a challenge and an opportunity as large as this for me to leave my current position. I do love [Y&R CEO] David Sable, and I’m really proud of the people I work with at Y&R. But it’s not every day that you get this kind of opportunity [at an agency] that we know has had some challenges but also has had some great client relationships. It’s one of those jobs that doesn’t come up every day.
“If you look at DraftFCB, the last thing they need is someone who comes charging in and tells them exactly how to do their jobs at the outset. I have a point of view on marketing and what I think is important, and am particularly passionate about the creative product and defining groundbreaking work. And that’s something I want to infuse more throughout the organization.”
He may need something more radical than that, although he’s hardly likely to say so publicly. DraftFCB has lost SC Johnson (worth a reported $80m in income at its peak) and Miller Coors while its hold on Mondelez business like Oreo is shaky and retail giant Kmart is said to be on the way out.
Some would argue that DraftFCB has never worked (the agency is a merger of Howard Draft’s Chicago-based direct marketing agency and one-time Madison Avenue stalwart FCB).
Interestingly Murray is apparently to be based in New York. That’s where the big accounts are these days (Murray is a former new business exec) but it looks ominous for the agency’s rapidly-declining Chicago operation. Executive chairman Draft (who reports to Murray) is staying put in Chicago, which might lead to some interesting discussions.