CTA Looks West for Expansion

Diane Arnold to Open L.A. Office After Statewide Taps Agency
BOSTON–Christopher Thomas Associates will soon open an office in the Los Angeles area to serve a small but growing stable of West Coast clients, including Statewide, a home remodeling firm that recently tapped the agency for ad chores.
The expansion will mean changes in the agency’s 20-person Boston office. Diane Arnold, who has run the outpost for more than a decade, has been promoted from president to vice chairman, and is charged with setting up a practice in Los Angeles. She will split her time between coasts and will continue to work with Boston-based clients as needed, she said.
Leo Rice, creative director for the overall CTA organization, which includes offices in Stamford, Conn., and Melville, N.Y., takes over as president in Boston, where he will continue to oversee the creative department.
Rice joined the agency 15 years ago as a copywriter. During his tenure, he has overseen campaigns for nearly all of the agency’s key accounts, including long-running TV and radio commercials for Fallon Healthcare featuring actress Mel Harris. A creative director for Stamford and Melville to take over day-to-day managerial chores from Rice has yet to be named.
Currently, the agency has a single staffer in California–Bonnie Spence–to work on campaigns for a roster that includes Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment and personal growth service Life.com.
Setting up a larger office in Los Angeles will help the shop better mine that market for new business, Arnold said. Statewide, Seattle, which tapped CTA following a review, will also be handled out of that office. The agency got into the review process based on a previous relationship with Statewide executive Vaughn McCourt, who had worked with CTA while he was employed by NewPro, Woburn, Mass.
With 50 employees and $50 million in annual capitalized billings, CTA executives are on a mission to grow the agency to the $100 million level in short order. Working toward that goal, the agency last year absorbed the staff and accounts of small New York shop Zuckerman/Lightcap Group [Adweek, Nov. 22], a move that brought both Buena Vista and Life.com into the fold.
Arnold is looking to have office space in Los Angeles within the next two months. K