Oh, Fudge: Y&R Brands CEO Steps Down

The most prominent African-American female in advertising, Ann Fudge, is stepping down from her post as CEO of Y&R Brands. Ad Age has more:

A graduate of Harvard Business School who built a career in marketing at General Foods and then Kraft, Ms. Fudge brought a history of client-side experience to her job heading one of the world’s largest global marketing communications companies.
While her appointment was groundbreaking, her performance at the company’s helm was largely regarded as underwhelming. She was widely criticized for focusing initially on the internal operations of Y&R, the advertising agency and most well-known unit of Young & Rubicam Brands, rather than diving into client relationships and luring new business.

I’m sure there will be quite a lot of chatter about Fudge’s time at Y&R, but I get the impression that it’s extremely difficult for anyone from a client-side background to come into an entrenched ad agency culture and make his/her own mark, regardless of race or gender.
What does it take to make that transition a successful one?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. It takes a deep appreciation of creative process and creative people. In other words, something B-school can’t teach.

  2. David nailed it with his comment. Running a Fortune 500 company is scant preparation for the intuitive business of advertising. Fact is, it would be great if more people made a move like Ms. Fudge — it might give clients a better understanding of how tough the agency world can be.