Modesto, Immesoete ditch Marc USA to run new agency

Mark Modesto and John Immesoete

When opportunity presents itself, Chicago advertising executives Mark Modesto and John Immesoete apparently believe you should go for it. And go for it they have.

Barely seven months after Modesto and Immesoete signed on as president and chief creative officer respectively at the small Marc USA/Chicago office,  the duo jumped ship together this week to join the Ryan Partnership, an agency whose specialties include digital, shopper marketing and promotions.

Modesto will become Ryan’s CEO and Immesoete its chief creative officer.  With 10 offices nationwide and nearly 700 employees, Ryan is one unit in a consortium of agencies known as Hyper Marketing, which is run by Zain Raj. RP clients include Dell, Dole and Bacardi.

Modesto’s and Immesoete’s abrupt exit this week from Marc USA/Chicago apparently took the small agency by surprise.  Last fall, when Modesto and Immesoete came on board, Marc USA leaders indicated the shop was ready to rock ‘n’ roll and embark on a growth phase.

McLaren returns to Marc; new creative leader sought

For the moment, however, the agency’s Chicago office plans to revert to the management structure in place prior to the arrival of the two new leaders last fall.  Jean McLaren will return to running the Chicago operation, while there is a search for a new creative leader to replace Immesoete.  McLaren said the shop might have some new business news to announce soon.

Of course, Modesto’s latest move has raised more than a few eyebrows within the gossipy Chicago ad world. This is not the first time Modesto has abruptly exited an agency. He was suddenly and unceremoniously ousted from DraftFCB nearly two years ago, just months before longtime DraftFCB client S.C. Johnson launched an agency review that resulted in DraftFCB losing the huge piece of business.

For most of his tenure at DraftFCB, Modesto was closely linked to the S.C. Johnson account. Theories abound about why DraftFCB cut loose Modesto, but neither the agency nor Modesto has talked on the record about the matter.

Raj and Modesto worked on S.C. Johnson at Draftfcb

The business relationship between Hyper Marketing’s Raj and Modesto dates back to a time when both worked at DraftFCB on the S.C. Johnson account.  Though sources say Modesto and Raj were not the best of friends at DraftFCB (a claim Raj refutes), the head of Hyper Marketing apparently admires Modesto’s management skills.

“I think he’s one of the brightest talents in the Chicago ad community,” Raj told us. And Raj apparently wanted Modesto and his skills to help grow the Ryan Partnership.  Both Modesto and Immesoete are moving into jobs at Ryan that did not exist previously.

Will it all work out?  “Modesto, Immesoete and Raj are all smart, driven players,” noted one source.  “But can they play together? It’s gonna be fun to watch,” added the source.

One thing is certain, however.  Modesto and Immesoete won’t have far to move when they start their new jobs in early June. The Ryan Partnership offices for now are right across the hall from Marc USA.

Contact Lewis Lazare at