Auto Veteran Neel to Take Over McCann Detroit




IPG Executive Will Leave Zurich for Motown to Replace Wilmot
DETROIT–Former Campbell-Ewald Advertising executive Garry Neel will return in March from Interpublic Group duties in Europe to take over as head of the McCann-Erickson office here, sources said.
Neel replaces Gunnar Wilmot, who moves to London as McCann’s director of worldwide accounts. Wilmot, who was brought in from the agency’s Frankfurt, Germany, office to shore up the General Motors account team in Troy, Mich., held the post for three years. The office is anchored by GM’s $250 million Buick account.
Neel reportedly has the ear of Philip H. Geier Jr., president and chief executive officer of IPG, McCann’s parent company. “He is very well thought of among the top ranks,” a source said.
For the past three years, Neel has been based in Zurich, Switzerland, as senior vice president and general manager of the General Motors Brand Communications Group–the partnership between Lowe & Partners Worldwide and McCann-Erickson Worldwide that was created to service the GM Europe account.
Before that, he spent about two months as a senior vice president and account director at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., working on AutoNation USA’s new-vehicle account.
That job followed four years at CEA, Warren, Mich., where he oversaw Chevrolet’s automotive accounts. Prior to that, he was in CEA’s L.A. office for 18 months working on Chevy business. From 1989-92, he worked in Hill, Holliday’s now-defunct Los Angeles office on Infiniti.
Wilmot was brought to Detroit partly in an effort to save McCann’s $70 million GMC account, which it lost a year later to sister IPG agency Ammirati Puris Lintas. Sources said Wilmot arrived too late to rescue it. One source speculated his departure indicates the agency feels it has stabilized in Motown after several tumultuous years.