IPG said today that Deutsch North America chairman and CEO Mike Sheldon will leave the agency at the end of the year.
“I have loved every crazy minute of being at Deutsch,” Sheldon said in a statement, “from the day we started in L.A. with a small handful of people to the significant force we are today on both coasts. The thing I’m most proud of is the people that are in place to take the agency to the next level.”
Sheldon characterized the decision as “difficult and bittersweet,” calling Deutsch “a very happy home … for the last 22 years,” adding, “I’m really excited to see what other kinds of opportunities exist for me outside of agency life. I’ll take some time to explore before taking a step into the next chapter for me professionally.”
At the start of 2020, Deutsch president Kim Getty will take over as CEO of that office, while Deutsch New York CEO Val DiFebo will continue to serve in the same role with the same title. Getty and DiFebo will both report to IPG COO Philippe Krakowsky.
“Deutsch L.A. and Deutsch N.Y. have always maintained a great deal of autonomy, and that’s been central to each agency’s success,” Krakowsky said in a statement. “This move acknowledges that individuality and eliminates potential client conflicts between the two offices, while maintaining the strong Deutsch brand in both cities.”
The moves follow a year that opened with Deutsch parting ways with six-year client Target and shortly thereafter being named global creative AOR for Reebok. While Deutsch’s Los Angeles office went through a round of layoffs in May following the end of its contract with Volkswagen, the office was named creative agency of record for Behr Paint in September. It also follows news this week of another planned exit of a longtime agency leader. FCB Chicago CEO Michael Fassnacht is leaving at the end of the year as part of a broader leadership restructuring at FCB, including Tyler Turnbull being promoted to FCB North America CEO.
IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth called Sheldon “a force of nature in our industry,” while commenting in a statement that he leaves Deutsch “with our gratitude and best wishes.”
Roth said that it was “gratifying to see a thoughtful succession plan,” calling DiFebo and Getty “highly client-centric leaders who have driven consistently strong results as the head of their respective offices.”