Houston Becomes Arnold

New Roles Defined for Herstek, Favat, Unsworth
BOSTON–Employees of Houston Herstek Favat last week officially went to work for Arnold Communications in Boston as Arnold completed the acquisition of its diminished crosstown rival.
The estimated 50 staffers of Houston Herstek will remain in their Newbury Street offices until May 1, when both shops move into office space now under construction at 101 Huntington Ave. Specifics such as titles and salaries for most staffers will be worked out over the next few weeks, said Arnold chairman and chief executive officer Ed Eskandarian.
“We’ll first meld the finances of the agency into ours and initially give them production and media support where its needed,” said Eskandarian.
So far, the potentially thorny subject of title has been broached only for Houston Herstek’s most senior executives: co-creative directors Peter Favat and Richard Herstek and president Lisa Unsworth. Favat and Herstek have been named group creative directors, reporting to chief creative officer Ron Lawner, Eskandarian said. The two are expected to continue working on Houston Herstek clients Converse and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Education Program. Unsworth has been appointed executive vice president and group account director, reporting to chief marketing officer Fran Kelley, Eskandarian said. Unsworth is expected to continue to play a key role in new business development.
The two shops already have collaborated on pitches for recently funded anti-smoking and drug-related initiatives from the State of Florida and the Food and Drug Administration. Arnold is pitching Florida’s $70 million anti-smoking account with Beber Silverstein & Partners in Miami.
Houston Herstek founder Doug Houston, who in just eight years built an agency with $180 million in billings only to see it dissolve in the wake of controversy and the defections of top executives and clients, could not be reached for comment. At a meeting between Houston and Eskandarian in December, Houston indicated he was relocating to the West Coast, Eskandarian said.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but sources said Eskandarian paid approximately $1.8 million for the once high-flying shop, of which Houston was the majority owner.

We’ll do this [merger] over time, and it’s still too early to answer a lot of the questions.