AAAA President-CEO Burtch Drake opened his remarks at the event today with a tribute to Kaess, a former AAAA chairman. "I will miss him very much, his many friends in the business will miss him very much, his colleagues at DDB and Omnicom will miss him very much," Drake said.
That was followed by similar tributes from both the outgoing and incoming chairmen of the AAAAs. "We both shared a deep love for the advertising business," said Ron Berger, the outgoing chair and the top executive at Euro RSCG in New York and San Francisco. "And we both were passionate about wanting more people to feel as good about it as we did." New chair Anthony Hopp of Campbell-Ewald expressed his "sense of personal loss" on Kaess' passing.
A memorial service for Kaess is scheduled for April 12 at Cipriani in New York. It will be "a celebration of his life," planned by Kaess himself, said Drake.
Kaess was 51 and died after a six-month battle with cancer. Among other prominent industry roles he held, he was a co-founder of Advertising Week.