Johnson Leaves Town, Not Work

One of Cohen/Johnson’s principals has left Southern California but will continue to serve a primary role at the agency’s new owner, The Phelps Group.
Mark Johnson, formerly Cohen/Johnson president, said that although he has moved his family from Beverly Hills, Calif., to the Lake Tahoe area, he will serve as senior account executive on all of the accounts he brought to the Los Angeles-based Phelps Group. The accounts, totaling $7 million in billings, include CareAmerica, Barbeques Galore and PETCO.
“I moved in order to have a better living environment for ourselves and our kids,” Johnson explained. “This way, I can concentrate on the areas I enjoy [strategic thinking, client services], rather than the [administrative] areas I had to deal with.”
Johnson will report to Joe Phelps and will be in the Los Angeles office “several times a month, if not weekly.”
The new alliance gives Cohen/Johnson chairman and executive creative director Howie Cohen an equity stake in The Phelps Group and the title of chief creative officer.
“We [Johnson and Cohen] had been fishing around for a while, looking for a strong base for our clients,” said Cohen. The Phelps Group seemed like the best fit, he said, since his agency had experience in broadcast and retail, while Phelps worked mainly in business-to-business print.
“The Cohen/Johnson employees are adapting to the team concept [of our agency],” according to Phelps, agency chief executive officer. The shop brought in five Cohen/Johnson employees in addition to Cohen and Johnson. Phelps added that the agency has begun working on Cohen/Johnson accounts.
The Phelps Group, with over 50 employees and $27 million in billings, plans to move its offices to Santa Monica, Calif., next month.