BBH Names Harty Chairman

NEW YORK Steve Harty, ex-managing partner of Interpublic Group’s Plus Consulting Group and co-founder of the former Merkley Newman Harty, is joining Bartle Bogle Hegarty next month as North American chairman, the agency said.

Harty, 53, fills a vacancy left by this month’s exit of Cindy Gallop, who was U.S. chairman and chief marketing officer.

Harty left PCG, a consultancy that was attached to IPG’s Lowe, in October. The unit dissolved upon his exit. Before that, he was president of Omnicom Group’s Merkley Newman Harty & Partners—now Merkley + Partners. Earlier in his career, he held senior posts at WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather.

At BBH, Harty joins a management team that includes New York CEO Gwyn Jones, New York executive creative director Kevin Roddy and Emma Cookson, global head of strategic planning.

The agency, which is 49 percent owned by Publicis Groupe, has billings of about $375 million from clients such as Levi’s, Unilever (Axe, All) and Diageo (Baileys, Smirnoff Ice, Johnnie Walker).

As chairman, Harty will play a leading role in new business development and client management, said Simon Sherwood, BBH’s worldwide chief operating officer, to whom both Harty and Jones report.

While Jones handles day-to-day management, Harty will interact with the client community and agency search consultants in a “more external facing role,” said Sherwood.

In addition, Harty is tasked with forging partnerships to further diversify BBH’s offering beyond traditional advertising.

Harty’s new boss cited his “imaginative and innovative ideas,” as well as a “high level of compatibility” from working at an agency such as Merkley as being key factors in his hire. “He just seemed to be on our wavelength,” Sherwood said.

Harty, an American, also “knows the New York ad scene and the U.S. ad scene very thoroughly,” Sherwood added.

Harty, who starts on Sept. 7, said that with a staff of 130, BBH is a “competent-sized agency” that has a “huge opportunity to grow.” He added, “You can do a lot and I like it because I think there’s real potential for the future there.”

Last month, Gallop said she was leaving BBH after 16 years to seek a leadership post at a New York shop [Adweek, July 18].

Since October 2004, she had poured most of her energy into the travel-heavy CMO job, speaking at industry conferences and visiting far-flung clients.