Hardwick Joins Sedgwick on $90 Mil. Account

LOS ANGELES Interpublic Group’s Sedgwick Rd. has added Sean Hardwick as vice president and group account director on the Washington Mutual account, a new position, the agency said.

Hardwick, 38, was previously an account director on the European Apple Computer account at Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in London. During his two years in London, he led the team that introduced the iMac, iPod, iTunes and other Apple products. Prior to that, he was at TBWA\C\D here, where he worked on the launch of Apple’s “Think different” campaign in the U.S.

Hardwick starts at the Seattle shop on Sept. 22. He will report to Dona Ross, senior vice president and director of brand development and oversee 10-15 account team members. Ross previously led Washington Mutual, which is the agency’s largest client, along with all of Sedgwick Rd.’s other accounts.

“Washington Mutual is growing by leaps and bounds, and we needed someone dedicated to them at a very senior level,” said Ross. Hardwick was hired in part because of his leadership and media skills, she said. In addition, Ross noted that in London, Hardwick managed relationships with creative and media agencies in eight countries, a skill that would be useful in working with Washington Mutual’s various agencies.

Sedgwick Rd. has worked with Washington Mutual since 1991. The Seattle-based client spent about $90 million on ads last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Hardwick said he was drawn to Sedgwick Rd. because of the shop’s “entrepreneurial feel” and the opportunity to work with the financial services client. “Washington Mutal has grown a lot in the past three years,” said Hardwick. “They want a brand image that reflects how mature a company they really are. They also want to integrate the communications disciplines a lot more tightly.”

Hardwick began his career at TBWA\C\D. His accounts there included Home Savings Bank of America, which was acquired by Washington Mutual. In 1991, he joined Team One in El Segundo, Calif., and returned to TBWA\C\D in 1997 to work on Apple.

Sedgwick Rd. has 87 employees and claimed 2002 capitalized billings of $108 million. Its clients also include the Washington State Department of Health; Converse, for which the shop handles media; the Seattle Storm; the Seattle Art Museum; and Nintendo, for which it handles project work.