Mirum, a WPP-owned digital agency network, recently said goodbye to its founder and global CEO Dan Khabie, who resigned in late January to pursue other ventures outside the holding company.
His departure follows the merger of Wunderman and JWT, the latter of which acquired his former agency Digitaria in 2010 and combined it with 10 other shops to form Mirum five years later. The San Diego, Calif.-based company is currently a stand-alone agency within Wunderman Thompson, the new WPP network that unveiled its branding on Monday morning.
“My time at WPP was incredibly positive,” Khabie told Adweek, “but when you run these big companies, it’s easy to lose touch about what’s happening on the street.”
The departing CEO, who said he has long been close to Wunderman Thompson chairman Tamara Ingram and expressed “huge respect” for WPP CEO Mark Read, notified agency leadership of his plans to leave in early 2018 and agreed to stay on during a six-month transition process. He only recently alerted clients and employees.
“We are very proud of the business Dan created at Mirum and are thrilled to see the brand and its global team of digital marketing innovators continue to thrive within the Wunderman Thompson network,” said WT global CEO Mel Edwards.
A Wunderman Thompson spokesperson declined to comment on whether Mirum will name a successor to Khabie. In December, the agency hired former Possible executive Shane Atchison to serve as North American CEO, leading all regional offices.
When Mirum made its debut in 2015, now-former JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez described it as “an integral part of our strategy to continue building on J. Walter Thompson Company’s many assets and capabilities in order to drive business transformation.” Martinez resigned last June two months after WPP reached a settlement in a sexual harassment case filed against him by JWT’s former global head of communications Erin Johnson.
Khabie did not elaborate on any specific plans regarding a new venture but said he hoped to have a related announcement in the coming months that would “definitely” fall within the marketing and technology sectors. He specifically expressed interest in the “new connected web.”
“It’s hard to leave something you love,” said Khabie. “We built Mirum from the ground up with a group of entrepreneurs … but now, I’ve just got to move on and start a new chapter.”