GJ&P Keeps S.F. Vow

Gee Jeffery & Partners has followed through with plans to open a San Francisco office and has hired two vice presidents to lead the operation.

Shortly after winning the estimated $25 million Covad Communications account in December, the Toronto-based agency vowed to establish the outpost to handle the Santa Clara, Calif., client. Eric Thompson, vp, ac-count director, and Fernando Arriola, vp, media director, are the sole staffers, although the shop is looking to hire two senior-level creatives.

Thompson, 33, was previously a vp at Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco. He has also worked at McCann-Erickson and Saatchi & Saatchi, with client experience including America West Airlines, Saturn, AT&T Wireless, Hewlett-Packard and Procter & Gamble.

Arriola, 38, had been a media di-rector at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, working on Southwestern Bell, The Wall Street Journal and Adobe Systems. He also worked on Ace Hardware, Coors Brewing Co. and Kraft Foods at Bozell in Chicago.

Thompson said the new location would not operate as a service office for Covad, but would be the “cornerstone” of a full-service shop.

Agency chairman and executive creative director Alan Gee noted that GJ&P was founded in Canada during a recession 11 years ago, and said he was not concerned about new-business opportunities in San Francisco. “We got loads of great opportunities with clients [in Canada] who had been with bigger shops that had to downsize, and the clients didn’t feel they were getting the intelligence they were looking for,” Gee said. “That mirrors the situation in San Francisco perfectly.”