Mother Design Appoints New Head as Founder Departs

Michael Ian Kaye will still be involved in the agency's ventures projects

Michael Ian Kaye leaves his role as founder and ecd at Mother Design. Mother New York

Mother Design, the independent sister creative agency of the larger Mother network, has announced the hiring of Mark Sloan to lead the New York office beginning Aug. 15, as founder and executive creative director Michael Ian Kaye departs.

Kaye will continue to work with Mother Ventures—a separate vehicle that has funded startups in the creative service and consumer goods industries (the agency declined to name any specific ventures it has invested in)—and will focus on the development of new concepts within its portfolio.

The agency said he will still visit Mother New York’s office, where Mother Design is also housed, but he will also work on independent projects “that speak directly to his passion for design, style, architecture and hospitality,” according to an agency statement.

Kaye first joined Mother New York as a creative director and partner in 2005 and founded Mother Design the following year.

“I’m proud to say that I’ve built a world-class practice that sits at the table with the best boutique studios in the world, and is competitive with the giants,” Kaye told Adweek. “We aren’t a bunch of designers planted in an advertising agency to make things look good. We’re not make-it-pretty people. We are there to do what we do best: design with a capital D.”

Sloan joins as head of Mother Design, taking over for Kaye. He hails most recently from TBWA\Chiat\Day, where he served as director of design for more than three years. Amongst the brands he has worked with throughout his career—listed on his independent website, Studio Sloan—are Converse, Apple and Airbnb. Sloan even lists “an identity refresh” for TBWA\Worldwide amongst examples of work on the site but he declined to comment on that when Adweek inquired.

He also held a year-long stint as creative director for surf and snowboard clothing brand Quicksilver in 2014.

Sloan intends to bring “an open mind and a deep desire for excellence” to the agency, he said, noting that it wasn’t necessarily any “individual project” that attracted him to the agency but the “strong level of intent and evidence of craft that runs through all of the group’s work.”

“You can feel the weight of talent that sits behind those doors with every project they release,” he added. “I intend for our specialty at Mother Design to be intelligent thought, with a staggeringly wide range of outputs.”

Sloan will report directly to Mother New York CCO Corinna Falusi.

“Mark will give you the most precious thing about your brand and screw with it in ways you never thought possible,” Falusi said in a statement. “He’s magical in the way he maintains the integrity of your brand but provides you the mindset you’re after.”

Peter Ravailhe, CEO and partner at Mother U.S., added in a statement, “We believe Mark will push the boundaries and conventions of what it means to be designing for brands today and in the future. Aside from his killer design skills, he simply has an incredible spirit, nurturing leadership style and passionate energy.”

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.