The leadership exodus continues

On a national level, at least.

Last week, we came across two separate stories via Adweek about senior-level departures. At Young & Rubicam, global strategy officer Sandy Thompson and North America chief strategy officer Dick de Lange are both leaving the agency. Meanwhile, at George P. Johnson, president Denise Wong is leaving — rather unexpectedly it seems — to pursue “another opportunity.”

More recently, Ian Schafer, founder & former CEO of Deep Focus and Chief Experience Officer at Engine USA, announced that he’s  stepping away from that role at the end of the year, with an eye on “something(s) new.”

While turnover and staff departures — even at the senior level — are nothing new in the agency business (much of its growth has happened that way), it seems that these days the “new opportunities” no longer involve starting up or joining a new agency. Rather, the destinations appear more likely to be outside of the agency business altogether — either moving to client-side roles, consulting firms, tech startups, etc.

It’s not the first time the talent pendulum has swung away from the agency side, and it certainly won’t be the last. The question remains, however — is the exodus of talent getting worse each time around, or are we just more aware of it?

Something to ponder.

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