He explains what agencies should know about selling—and buying back—their agency

After 50 years in the business, Dave Fitzgerald is set to implement his exit plan from the ad industry.

When Fitzgerald bought Fitzco back from IPG three years ago, he did so with the intention of stepping aside from the shop by his upcoming 75th birthday in February. He will officially hand the agency’s reins to CEO-in-waiting Evan Levy on Nov. 1.

Levy joined the agency in 1996, leaving it briefly to attain an MBA from Northwestern, and held a variety of roles in account management, creative and most recently COO and president. Fitzgerald will retain his ownership of the agency and maintain an advisory role after Nov. 1.

The agency has doubled its revenue and headcount since becoming independent again, now up to about 120 employees. The fully integrated agency grew roughly 30% year over year with a strong new business streak that fetched 10 new clients, including Shipt, Welch’s, Hilton and Waymo.

Levy and Fitzgerald sat down with Adweek to explain how Fitzco’s new way of working, called Unleashing Energy, is driving the agency’s success, and Fitzgerald gave advice to independent agencies on how to navigate potentially selling and buying back your business.

“Under his leadership, we doubled once; under my leadership, we will double again,” Levy told Adweek. “Because what the team is, if nothing else, is hungry.”

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