Alex Bogusky, the co-founder and executive creative director of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, is returning to the agency world eight years after swearing off advertising altogether, according to two parties with direct knowledge of the matter.
UPDATE: After this story first ran, a CP+B spokesperson confirmed that Bogusky will take on the title of chief creative engineer at the agency where he spent more than 20 years. Parent company MDC Partners will announce the news during its quarterly earnings call today.
Bogusky’s hire is the latest high-level move for the network, which also laid off several members of its corporate leadership team, including global CMO Bob Kantor, ahead of the call.
“This is a decisive moment for the future of the advertising industry. The needs of brands have changed, and it’s high time to reexamine the best creative approach to meet those needs,” said Bogusky in a statement. Noting that he spent much of his time away from the industry advising tech startups, he added, “I think advertising agencies can benefit from the lean and agile practices that have revolutionized so many other industries.”
Fellow co-founder Chuck Porter described him as “the most original and innovative thinker I know.”
“The last time Alex was here, we reinvented what it meant to be an ad agency, and I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the industry needs that more than right now,” he said.
With the co-founder’s arrival, global chief creative officer Linus Karlsson is also departing CP+B after less than a year.
“As part of the recent restructuring, and Alex Bogusky rejoining CP+B, Linus Karlsson will be leaving the agency,” said the agency spokesperson. “We are grateful for his creative leadership, remain great fans and friends, and look forward to all the many things we know he will achieve.”
Karlsson, who began his career in Sweden before co-founding Mother New York, moved to Colorado last fall to lead CP+B in collaboration with global CEO and Forsman & Bodenfors veteran Erik Sollenberg.
Bogusky worked on some of the ad industry’s best-known campaigns from 1989 to his exit from the industry in 2010, including Burger King’s “Subservient Chicken” and the anti-smoking “Truth Campaign.” Adweek named him “Creative Director of the Decade” in 2009, but the following year, he resigned from CP+B and swore off advertising altogether.
At the time, MDC Partners issued a statement indicating Bogusky had left “in order to focus his time and energy on pursuing a number of initiatives and issues apart from advertising and marketing that he feels strongly about.”
From his home base in Boulder, Colo., he went on to launch “brand impact agency” Fearless Unlimited as well as an “early stage venture capital firm” called Batshit Crazy Ventures. The former creative and designer additionally wrote or co-wrote two books: The 9-Inch Diet was an anti-fast food manifesto, while Baked In concerned marketing by “[taking] brands back to their foundations.”
In recent years, Bogusky has also been an investor in companies like Lyft.
“The CP+B brand has always been all about redefining advertising, and the opportunity to remake what it means to be a top-tier creative agency is too compelling to pass up,” his statement read. “The timing is right.”
Spokespeople for MDC Partners did not respond to a request for additional comment, nor did Bogusky himself.