Departures from BBH have become the norm recently and there are two notable new ones – but this time at BBH New York.
North America CEO Pat Lafferty (left) and New York CCO Ari Weiss are both leaving the agency, according to an internal memo obtained by Ad Age.
The memo, sent to staff by creative chairman John Patroulis (do we have to have creative chairmen?), states that Lafferty and Weiss are leaving to do their own things. Patroulis takes over as CCO while BBH’s global chief growth officer Mike Densmore takes over as interim CEO.
When BBH negotiated the sale of the remaining 51 per cent to Publicis Groupe in 2012, for an estimated £100m, it also negotiated its own constitution within the French holding company. So, for example, Arthur Sadoun’s new Publicis communications has limited powers over the agency.
Co-founder Nigel Bogle said at the time: “The decision was very clear, we were looking for an opportunity that would ensure that our agency maintained a high degree of autonomy and could continue to abide by the values characterised by the black sheep (the agency logo).
“The key point for us was the preservation of our operational independence. The new ownership not only ensures our autonomy but brings us considerable advantages through Public Groupe’s resources and global infrastructure.”
Alas, since then it’s been pretty much downhill all the way with BBH losing business like Diageo and some Unilever and lots of senior people. It may have its own constitution within Publicis but it’s not immune from financial pressures as it and its owner have struggled. It no longer has a stake in Brazil’s Neogama (now wholly owned by Publicis) which was the most profitable part of its overseas empire. BBH in New York (it also has an office in Los Angeles) is famous but not that big.