NEW YORK—John Margaritis, hired a little over a year ago to lead a turnaround at Euro RSCG’s public relations operations, is leaving the firm. Margaritis was executive director of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, but had focused the majority of his attention on the Euro RSCG Magnet operation in the U.S., including the appointment of new president Lisa Sepulveda.
Magnet, formed by the merger of Creamer Dickson Basford, Kratz & Jensen and several smaller firms and later expanded with the integration of the former Middleberg & Associates, has undergone significant management turnover since its formation, with four CEOs in five years. The firm’s first chief executive, Darryl Salerno, left after about a year and was replaced by David Kratz, who departed in 2004. The most recent CEO, Aaron Kwittken, stepped down in November of 2005, shortly before Margaritis was appointed.
It was hoped that Margaritis would bring some stability to the U.S. operations, and at the time it was assumed that Euro RSCG, which owns several powerful public relations firms in key European markets, would be making acquisitions in the U.S. to bring its North American operations up to the same standard. Instead, there was consolidation, including the closure of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.
Margaritis is believed to have been disappointed at the lack of investment, while sources inside Euro RSCG say the parent company is waiting to see organic growth from Magnet before making any new acquisitions.
Margaritis says he is exploring several new options, although he is leaning toward a smaller, more entrepreneurial venture rather than another position with a large agency. He spent almost a decade out of the public relations business after serving as chief executive at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide until 1987, spending time as president and CEO of Firebrand Financial Group, a financial services company, and as director of marketing for Asprey, a British luxury goods manufacturer and retailer.
In a statement, Euro RSCG said: “John Margaritis joined Euro RSCG Magnet in 2005 with a brief to restructure the business. At the end of 2006, after some success in this area, it became apparent that there was a difference of opinion in the direction of the agency direction moving forward. The decision for John to move on from Euro RSCG Magnet was mutual. He leaves behind a new management team now prepared to take Euro RSCG Magnet forward into the future.”