Hill, Holliday Shores Up Verizon

A series of abrupt personnel moves at two IPG owned shops in New York has led to a management shakeup at the San Francisco office of fellow IPG shop Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.

Nancy Hill, president of Hill, Holliday in San Francisco will move to the agency’s New York office to serve as managing director and oversee portions of the Verizon Wireless business.

Sources said the move comes after Hill, Holliday’s chief integration officer in New York, Laurel Rossi, tried to help orchestrate a shift in Verizon’s national account from Bozell to Hill Holliday.

Rossi, along with Bozell’s group creative director Rich Levy, proposed an agency shift to Verizon Wireless’ vp of marketing, John Stratton, and vp of advertising, Marvin Davis. who both rejected the overture.

Stratton in turn alerted Bozell president Tom Bernardin, who, with the client’s approval, dismissed Levy, sources said. For her role, Rossi was removed from the Verizon account and will be replaced by Hill, sources said.

An immediate successor for Hill in San Francisco has not been named; however, sources said Brian Carty has rejoined the shop as evp for corporate development from defunct marketing company Wheelhouse, and he will likely assume Hill’s duties until her replacement is named.

Hill, 44, declined to discuss the the circumstances surrounding her sudden transfer. She said she had no hesitation about taking the new assignment and expects to make the move in about three weeks.

“The opportunity was pretty easy to take given that my family is on the East Coast and that I’ve worked on the Verizon account in the past,” she said, referring to her work on Bell Atlantic Mobile while at Doner.

The quick decision to bring Hill across the country is designed to ensure stability on the Verizon account, according to sources. Levy overestimated his clout with the client, sources said. “It comes down to ego and individual greed,” said one source. “It happens when people believe their own press. [Levy] made a monumental, stupid move, and it cost him his job.”

Without confirming the scenario, Levy told Adweek on Friday, “I feel I had an inappropriate conversation with the client. I admitted my mistake to Bozell management. For that I was fired.” He declined to elaborate.

“It was an internal matter that was appropriately resolved,” said Bernardin, who declined further comment.