Whitten Quits For ‘Guest Of Ideas’

NEW YORK – Nat Whitten, a founding partner and co-creative director at Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, resigned last Thursday from the shop to pursue a career in writing.
Whitten, 37, said that as much as he has enjoyed his eight years at the agency, “I am a writer first and foremost, and I’ve decided to set off in the quest of ideas rather than continue in the day-to-day management of an advertising agency.” He will pursue freelance work, he said, in addition to theatrical writing.
The agency does not plan to bring in a new partner and will not change its name in the near future, said Adam Stagliano, president and director of account planning.
Co-creative director Marty Weiss “will assume creative directorship of all the accounts and all the brands,” Stagliano said. Weiss will be aided by Keith Klein, an associate creative director. The New York shop is also seeking a second associate creative director.
Whitten left his senior copywriting post at the former Chiat/Day in 1989 to launch a “creative think tank” with Weiss, then an associate creative director at Chiat. The company eventually evolved into Weiss, Whitten.
Whitten’s exit comes after an 18-month period in which the shop has “nearly doubled [its billings] to $130 million” through wins such as Barnes & Noble and the growth of its Guinness Import Co. business, Stagliano said.
Whitten had been the sole creative director and a copywriter on accounts such as Bass Ale, Harp Lager, Bucks County Coffee, Ferrari and The Economist, which bill a combined total of $15-20 million.
Whitten also created two service units while at the shop. In 1992, production facility WWS Film & Videoworks launched, followed three years later by WWS Interactive, a Web site development department.