Bates Looks for Fearless Leader

Are you a “fearless, thrill-seeking executive who relishes the adrenaline and energy that derive from overcoming significant challenges?” If you fit this description, Bates has a job for you.

After the exit in May of North American CEO Bill Whitehead, following the loss of the network’s biggest account—Hyun-dai—Bates is seeking a replacement, described in a document obtained by Adweek.

The paper, being circulated by search firm Korn/Ferry International, makes no bones about the agency’s recent troubles.

Despite “many assets and a long record of accomplishment, Bates Worldwide has clearly fallen on difficult times,” the document states. “The loss of several significant client relationships, the lack of appropriate leadership during this recessionary period and the absence of a clearly articulated vision for what Bates wants to be have all taken their toll in recent years.”

In addition to possessing “tremendous chutzpah,” the successful candidate must be a catalyst to the shop’s “rejuvenation and cultural rebirth,” as well as its “most prominent evangelist.”

Whitehead, 56, left after 31 years at Bates. David Hearn, 46, who came on in March as chairman and CEO of Bates Worldwide, assumed his duties.

Last week, Hearn characterized the search as “business as usual,” saying the agency frequently seeks qualified and “interesting” candidates. He acknowledged the need to be honest with candidates. “We’ve certainly had our excitements,” he said, noting there would be no point “pretending” otherwise.