Four senior executives at the Minneapolis-St. Paul office of JWT digital agency Mirum resigned earlier this week to form a new agency in the market called Folklore.
Mike Matheny, who has been executive creative director at the Mirum MSP office, will lead the new agency.
The other Mirum veterans who are joining Matheny in the new shop include David Pett, who has been director front-end development; copywriter Jim Wakely and senior designer Shawn Bielefeldt.
A fifth Mirum executive, Tom Flint -- VP strategy at the agency -- also resigned. He is not joining the new Folklore shop and sources indicated he is not joining a competing agency in Minneapolis.
The departures follow the exit last month of Chuck Phillips, Mirum’s North America chief technology officer. Phillips was the second founding partner in Digitaria — one of the core shops around which Mirum was formed about a year ago — to leave the agency.
The other was Doug Hecht, who formally parted ways about three months ago. Hecht had been president and COO of Digitaria. Another founding partner, Dan Khabie, was appointed Global and North America CEO of Mirum when it was formed.
The firm’s VP strategy for North America, Marysharon Owens, also left recently. Her tenure was a short one — she joined the agency in October of last year after stints with Smiths Group, Target, and Microsoft.
Matheny said he has dreamed about opening his own shop throughout his career. As to Folklore, he added that he and his co-founders spent the last couple of months doing research and additional due diligence to help gage the feasibility and demand for a new digital agency in the Minneapolis area.
The shop will offer clients an array of digital products from Web sites to apps and content as well as strategy. And it will help brands explore new technologies and how they might be leveraged for marketing efforts.
Matheny described the split from JWT as amicable, noting that he and his partners notified Khabie of the plans and provided two weeks’ notice to help with the transition. “We’re leaving on good terms,” he said.
The name Folklore is designed to convey the idea of storytelling and “creating experiences that people will talk about and that will live on” through word of mouth, said Matheny.
The agency has lined up a couple of charter clients although Matheny said the agency won’t disclose them until next month. For a bit more color about the new agency and its positioning check out its landing page.
A Mirum spokesperson said the Minneapolis office would be replacing both Matheny and Flint. “As part of our launch in 2015, Mirum made significant upgrades in our talent and management. We have confidence in our leadership team in Minneapolis and their plans for the future. Change is not for everyone. We wish Mike and the others all the best in their future endeavors.”
This story has been updated to include comments from Matheny and a Mirum spokesperson.