This week, Wieden + Kennedy Portland announced a new creative leadership team formed by the return of Jason Bagley, the promotion of Eric Baldwin and the departure of Mark Fitzloff.
Bagley spent the last eight months as chief creative officer at Deutsch's Los Angeles office after working at W+K for a dozen years, and Baldwin currently serves as creative director on KFC and the network's creative technology group, The Lodge. These two have been elevated to executive creative director status, and as of Jan. 1 they will lead the network's flagship office alongside fellow ecd Susan Hoffman and managing director Tom Blessington. (Unlike some agencies, W+K has only one global chief creative officer in Colleen DeCourcy.)
"Eric and Jason leave a ridiculous trail of great work behind them as they step into their new roles," said DeCourcy in a statement. "Naturally curious and capable across all kinds of media, these two don't leave any opportunity on the table when building a brand. As leaders, they inspire with humility and a sense of fun. I have huge expectations for them both. I believe they will push us out of our comfort zone and into our wildest dreams for this place."
The Bagley and Baldwin announcement serves as a reunion; the pair collaborated from 2006 to 2011, serving as co-creative directors on the Emmy-winning Old Spice campaign, "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like."
This news also marks the second major change in Wieden + Kennedy's leadership over the last two months. In October, the network announced that it would name 15 new global partners in preparation for its 35th anniversary in April. Beyond the string of promotions, W+K also moved additional resources into emerging markets by way of its offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi.
In April, Deutsch hired Bagley to oversee and "supercharge" its Los Angeles creative department. "I've had a fantastic experience at Deutsch. It's an amazing place and I'll miss all the incredible people and clients who became dear friends," he said, "But W+K is my home, and I'm excited to return and work on the next chapter with all the incredibly talented people there."
"Jason leaves as a great friend of the agency and we wish him all the best as he returns with his family to his home in Portland," wrote a Deutsch spokesperson. The agency declined to elaborate on the news, but one party close to the matter told Adweek that North American chief creative officer Pete Favat will effectively return to his position as leader of its Los Angeles office and that the organization will not be looking to replace Bagley in the immediate future.
Fitzloff's departure is also significant as he has spent nearly 20 years with the W+K organization, famously leading the Old Spice business, becoming a partner in 2008 and ascending to the role of co-global executive creative director in 2013. He is leaving for an unspecified creative opportunity.
"It's never easy to say goodbye to a longtime colleague," said the agency's global president Dave Luhr. "Mark's creative leadership attracted and mentored some of the best creative talent in the industry."
Co-founder and chairman Dan Wieden added, "Being a leader in this crazy place is not for the faint of heart. We wish Mark the best in his up and coming adventure."