Horner Returns to Gearon Hoffman Fold

Jud Horner has re-joined Gearon Hoffman as chief marketing officer, responsible for developing new business and expanding relationships with current clients at the agency, here.

Horner has 25 years of experience, holding num-erous agency and client-side posts, mainly in account service, new-business development and brand marketing. His return marks his third stint at Gearon Hoffman, where he first worked in the late 1980s.

He most recently was CMO at juice maker Mauna La’i in Braintree, Mass., before its 2001 acquisition by Cadbury-Schweppes’ Mott’s. Before that, Horner was president of Boston shop Clarke Goward for nearly two years. He is best known, however, for his 1994-97 stint at Gearon Hoffman. As evp, strategic planning, Horner helped agency partners Bob Hoffman and Dan Gearon grow the shop approximately 75 percent during that period.

“Jud has always done an excellent job in the areas of new business and strategic planning,” Hoffman said. “We jumped at the chance [to bring him back]. His energy and vision are contagious.”

Gearon Hoffman has not had a new-business specialist since the departure last year of Robert Knight after just a few months with the agency.

Given the continued volatility in the marketplace, Horner declined to project a growth target. Even so, he expressed some optimism about the agency’s prospects. “I think this market is beginning to show signs of life again,” Horner said. “Dan, Bob and I have had success together in the past. I expect the same thing this time around.”

The 40-person independent, which posted $70-75 million in bill-ings and $9.5 million in revenue for 2001, has seen growth slow to roughly 5 percent in each of the past two years. Fewer opportunities to pitch new accounts and budget cuts among existing clients are to blame, Hoffman said.

New business has been especially slow of late; the shop has added work from Compass Bank and sports-apparel brand CW-X in 2002.