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FCB Announces New Leadership Team in New York

Press Release - New York, 16 February 2016

Karyn Rockwell, Deb Freeman and Ari Halper to lead the agency’s New York office; Lee Garfinkel to take break from advertising industry

NEW YORK, February 16, 2016 — FCB Worldwide CEO Carter Murray today announced a new leadership team at FCB Garfinkel, the network’s New York office.

Beginning March 1, Karyn Rockwell, currently executive vice president, global account director overseeing the Mondelez business across IPG agencies FCB and The Martin Agency, will become the agency’s new CEO.

Ari Halper, most recently executive creative director at Grey New York, will also join the agency as the new chief creative officer next month.

Rounding out the trio is Deb Freeman, who joined the New York office as executive vice president, chief strategy officer, on February 1.

“Karyn, Deb and Ari bring a formidable combination of business, strategic and creative leadership skills. I am thrilled to have them leading the charge in New York as we continue our mission of being a true creative and business partner to clients by delivering impactful behavior change,” Murray said. He added that Rockwell’s new appointment is a testament to the company’s “commitment to cultivating, promoting and retaining our best talent across our global network.”

The new leadership appointments come as Lee Garfinkel, CEO of the agency since 2014, is taking a break from the industry. He's leaving to focus on other forms of artistic expression, including working on his extensive catalogue of unpublished songs and completing his first dramatic play. He'll also consult with companies outside of the ad industry. Following his departure, the agency, currently known as FCB Garfinkel, will be renamed FCB New York. To ensure a smooth transition, Lee Garfinkel will remain on board for the next three months.

Incoming FCB New York CEO Karyn Rockwell currently leads the Mondelez business, splitting her time between FCB and The Martin Agency, since March 2015. She brings a strong background in brand strategy and business innovation, having served in leadership roles across a variety of agencies. Prior to her present role, Karyn was the chief collaborator at co:collective, a strategy and innovation firm, where she oversaw the collaboration department and led the YouTube account. Over the course of her career spanning agencies JWT, Leo Burnett, DDB and McCann Erickson, she has worked on brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Royal Caribbean, Coca-Cola and the U.S. Army.

Citing the positive experience she’s had partnering with FCB in her current role, Rockwell remarked, “I greatly admire Carter’s passion for the industry, as well as his leadership skills and smarts, and so, when he and Lee both approached me with this opportunity, it was an amazing next step that I couldn’t pass up.”

Halper, the agency’s new chief creative officer, is a 13-year veteran of Grey New York, where he rose to executive creative director. There, he served as a key catalyst behind the agency’s creative transformation and new business growth, bringing in accounts such as Gillette and Ally Financial. His work on highly acclaimed campaigns such as the E*TRADE Baby, “Guns with History,” Canon’s “Inspired,” and “Wake Up to Eggs” for the American Egg Board has been recognized with major industry awards, spanning Cannes Lions, Effies, Clios and a national Emmy. One of these, “Project Imagin8tion” for Canon, was also shortlisted for an Academy Award. 

“It’s a fascinating time to be at FCB. What excites me the most about coming here is the fact that both the leadership team and I share a genuine desire to rethink and challenge everything,” Halper said. “The people of FCB understand the power of leveraging creativity to redefine what an ad agency can be and the things we can accomplish in partnering with our clients.”

Rounding out the new leadership team is Deb Freeman, a 10-year alumna of Grey New York who began her new role as the company’s chief strategy officer, earlier this month. At Grey, she led teams that helped build brands like Pringles, Pantene and Canon into cultural powerhouses and also played an instrumental role in helping the agency land new accounts, such as T.J. Maxx, Ally Financial, Pandora and RadioShack.

Said Freeman, “Since joining two weeks ago, I’ve already been impressed by the incredibly smart, talented and passionate people of FCB. I’m thrilled to have Karyn and Ari joining and look forward to working with them to write the agency’s next chapter.” 

Lee Garfinkel is one of Madison Avenue’s most accomplished modern-day ad men. He joined FCB’s New York office (then known as Draftfcb) as CEO in January 2014, and shortly afterward, the agency was renamed FCB Garfinkel as part of the company’s global rebranding. Prior to joining FCB, Garfinkel served in several leadership roles, including as chairman and CCO for both DDB and Lowe and Partners. While at Lowe, he oversaw several award-winning campaigns for Mercedes-Benz, Heineken, Sprite and Diet Coke. At BBDO, he served as the creative director and copywriter on several award-winning Pepsi commercials, including the 1992 Super Bowl spot starring Cindy Crawford.

“I sincerely thank Carter for giving me the opportunity to lead FCB’s New York office, for putting my name on the door, and for honoring my decision to explore other ways to express my creativity,” Garfinkel said.

Said Murray, “Lee is one of the industry’s most accomplished creative forces. He approached me a few months ago expressing a desire to take a break from the advertising industry to follow his other creative passions. While he will be missed, I know that his boundless creativity, energy and passion will be formidable ingredients to any project he works on.”