Jennings Taps Ex-McKinney Exec

Schofield becomes president, COO of family-run operation

Mark Schofield has stashed away an unfinished book about account leadership in a drawer at home, where he can safely ignore it. After a one-year hiatus from the ad business, the former McKinney + Silver executive is ready to put his written theories into practice as president and chief operating officer of Jennings in Chapel Hill, N.C.

In the new post, Schofield, 52, will oversee daily operations at the $25 million shop, which works with Volvo Trucks North America and Time Warner Cable, among others. He reports to chairman and CEO Roger Jennings.

Schofield joined McKinney in Raleigh, N.C., 17 years ago. It was his first agency job following a string of client-side gigs, and he eventually rose to svp, executive group director before he left in 2002. During Schofield’s tenure, the agency grew from $50 million to $300 million in billings.

“Jennings reminds me of McKinney in the early days, when it was smaller and people lived close together and knew each other extremely well,” Schofield said.

The decision to join Jennings may also have been prompted by Schofield’s wife of 28 years, Debbie. “When I left McKinney, I didn’t want to work anywhere,” he said. “I told my wife I was going into semi-retirement. She said, ‘OK, but don’t let it last too long, and don’t bug me.’ “

The fruits of his hiatus included the beginnings of a book about the reinvention of account leadership, which Jennings believes has been eroded. “No one in the agency is truly accountable to the client if the account person isn’t,” he said.

Jennings, which has 20 staffers, is a family-owned operation. The CEO’s wife, Dorothy Jennings, is co-founder and director of finance, and the couple’s daughter, Paige Zinn, is vp, corporate development.