Gunning new DDB CEO as McGuinness returns to NY

Paul Gunning: new head of DDB/Chicago

Historically, Mad Men who are transferred or recruited by a Chicago agency for top management or creative positions don’t buy houses and settle in for the long haul.  A two-year span is about the length of their Michigan Avenue tenure. 

And so DDB CEO Peter McGuinness will return to New York from whence he came after two years at DDB to join Greek-style Chobani yogurt July 22 as chief marketing and brand officer, a newly-created position. 

Chobani, which has expanded into a $1 billion company in the past five years, had been a former client of McGuinness when was president/CEO at Gotham Inc. in New York, before moving to DDB in August, 2011.  He resigned from DDB June 22 and the announcement came yesterday after his successor’s appointment was made official.  

DDB/Chicago’s new CEO is Paul Gunning, a 13-year DDB veteran Paul Gunning, who since 2008 has been CEO of interactive Tribal DDB Worldwide based in New York, heading a global network of more than 60 offices.

He said the opportunity to run DDB Chicago had been a dream of his since he started working for the agency in 2000. 

Gunning told the Tribune Thursday, “If I can successfully blend the best of what I’ve been doing from a digital perspective to the best of what’s been happening here in the traditional sense, I think we’ve got an award-winning combination that’s going to separate us from the competition and hopefully drive a tone value for the clients.”

As Lewis Lazare stated in Chicago BizJournal, McGuinness was  unable to land new accounts, including recent pitches h.h. Gregg and Cadillac, and  that inability may have been a factor in McGuinness’ decision to depart DDB.

There was also the matter of McGuinness’ adjustment to Chicago itself, Lazare pointed out. Though born in Buffalo Grove, McGuinness spent most of his formative years on the New Jersey shore. And most of his professional career was spent in the advertising capitals of New York City and London.

Chicago is a major advertising center, but McGuinness had become increasingly aware in recent months that the Windy City was a far different place than either New York or London.

Sidebar: Leo Burnett CCO Susan Credle appears to be the exception to a New Yorker’s two-years-in-Chicago rule, as she’s coming up on four years in September here. 

And as if to validate her Chicago-ness, Credle was named Advertising Woman of the Year by the Women’s Ad Club of Chicago.  The award luncheon will be held in October.