Joyce King Thomas, the chief creative officer at McCann Erickson, New York, since 2004, is leaving after 16 years, the agency has confirmed. She will remain at McCann through the end of August.
A successor to King Thomas has not been named. The Interpublic Group unit has been searching for a new creative leader for more than a month, sources said.
King Thomas is said to have known about the search; McCann clients were informed about it as well, per sources.
King Thomas could not immediately be reached for comment.
Under one plan, King Thomas would have shifted to creative director on a couple of global accounts, including MasterCard, sources said. She is best known as the writer who originated the credit card’s long-running “Priceless” campaign. Other sources insist the timing of King Thomas’ departure is her choice and that she has mulled leaving for some time.
McCann is currently bolstering its creative resources, searching to bring in new creative execs both in the U.S. and Europe.
Nick Brien, the former CEO of IPG’s Mediabrands unit who took the reigns at McCann Worldgroup in April, has lost little time in making changes at McCann, an agency know for its clubby, entrenched culture. Earlier this month, he appointed Universal McCann head of global strategy Daryl Lee chief integration architect, a new position at the Worldgroup level. Brien also promoted Lee Daley, chief strategist of Worldgroup EMEA and global director of strategic solutions, to chief strategy officer for McCann Erickson Worldwide.
Last month, McCann New York was rocked by the loss of wireless business from its largest client, Verizon, at a cost of about $25 million in revenue, which shifted to Verizon shop mcgarrybowen, the Dentsu unit that launched the client’s new Droid phone. (This month McCann, however, successfully defended Verizon non-wireless communications, including the FiOS TV service.) In April, McCann also lost creative duties on Goodyear, which moved to Omnicom’s GSD&M Idea City.
In November, Curt Detweiler, a partner and ecd at Ground Zero, was named North American evp, ecd at McCann Erickson, a new title. He was hired by Robert LePlae, who became president of McCann Erickson North America last August. Detweiler worked closely with LePlae at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., where as a cd he ran the Nissan business and contributed to the Mars account in New York. Like LePlae, he will be based at McCann in San Francisco, which the agency considers its North American leadership hub.
King Thomas also chaired McCann’s global creative collective, a 13-member group representing all of the geographies and disciplines of McCann Worldgroup.
–with Andrew McMains