Photo: Baratunde Thurston/Flickr
Alex Lubar, Grey New York’s svp/business development, is leaving the agency to become McCann Erickson’s chief marketing officer. Ad agencies don’t usually celebrate losing talent, and generally hate it if anyone draws attention to the fact that key executives are leaving.But Grey managing director Michael Houston wrote this classy email to his staff, which both “celebrates” Lubar’s departure and needles McCann New York—which has seen some major client defections over the last couple of years—for needing to hire him.
He calls McCann’s poaching “equally flattering and unsettling” and says the agency is “an even greater challenge” than Grey was five years ago. (Both agencies, giants of the Mad Men era, have been forced to remake and modernize themselves.)
Here’s Houston’s email, per AgencySpy:
“As I mentioned in the Dept Heads Mtg earlier this week, part of our job as senior leaders is to keep a positive spin on agency news that has the potential to make people uncomfortable, such as the departure of people we all know and love.
To that point, I appreciate your help keeping things positive as people learn that Alex Lubar has resigned from Grey. And in this case, there’s no “spin” necessary as things truly are positive.
As you all know, Alex has played a key role in helping our stellar new business machine achieve an enviable winning streak. Our collective success as an agency continues to draw industry attention to our staff across departments and we now find ourselves with an equally flattering and unsettling new moniker…a top destination for talent poaching.
Alex received a compelling offer to become the North American CMO of McCann and it’s simply a challenge he doesn’t want to deny himself at this point in his career. In fact, it has hints of the same challenge many of us signed up for 5 years ago when we agreed to transform this place, so we can’t deny the allure. (Although we also can’t deny it may be an even greater challenge!)
With all change comes opportunity; therefore, I’ll be announcing our plans for New Biz in a few weeks. We have a great team in place and every intention of continuing toward our shared goal of becoming the best agency in the industry without skipping a beat.
We’ve had a good ride, guys, but make no mistake…we’ve really just begun. The goal is to make the next chapter legendary.
Alex will be here through the end of June and then will leave with our full support and gratitude for his tenure at Grey. In the meantime, pop by the 3rd floor to give Alex the proper hell he deserves and tell him we look forward to seeing him on the battlefield. If our Radio Shack duel with McCann is any indication of things to come, this is going to be fun!
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