Birge Rises at TBWA\C\D N.Y.

NEW YORK TBWA North American president Robert LePlae has promoted Sprint Nextel account chief Robert Birge to the new post of managing director of TBWA\Chiat\Day here.

Birge, who previously was managing director on Sprint Nextel, the office’s largest account, will continue in his lead role on the business. As managing director, he will oversee day-to-day operations, including client service, recruitment and new business development. He joins a management team that includes LePlae, executive creative director Gerry Graf and Suzanne Powers, executive director of strategy and business development.

TBWA\C\D New York has billings of more than $800 million and a staff of roughly 320. Its other clients include Masterfoods, Absolut, Nivea, American Century Investments and Embassy Suites.

Birge, 36, joined the agency in 2001, from the Boston Consulting Group in Chicago, where he was a consultant. Initially, he was chief operating officer of TBWA Group.

While at Boston Consulting Group, he provided marketing advice behind the launch of Orbitz, an online travel site developed by a group of five airlines. He joined TBWA\C\D about a year after the shop won a pitch to handle advertising for the launch.

Earlier in his career, Birge was an associate brand manager at Miller Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, where he worked on Miller Lite and Molson. Last year, he was an integral part of the team that won consolidated consumer and lead launch duties on Sprint Nextel, after Sprint acquired Nextel, then a TBWA\C\D client.

“His leadership combined with his ability to deliver big marketing solutions across all channels of communication on behalf of Sprint Nextel has garnered him the respect of the entire team,” said LePlae, to whom he reports. “He is a huge asset and I know that he will contribute tremendously to the future direction of the New York office.”