Joining the Competition Clarion Executives Lured to Hill, Holliday Unit

By Judy Warner

BOSTON–Increased business from Fidelity Investments and other clients has led Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos to recruit two senior executives from Clarion Direct in Greenwich, Conn.

Joining Hill, Holliday in May to run its $100 million direct marketing unit is Don White, Clarion Direct managing director. White will become executive vice president of Hill, Holliday Direct, reporting to chief executive officer Jack Connors.

Clarion Direct senior vice president Judy Cohen has been tapped to be Hill, Holliday Direct senior vice president, heading up account services for such clients as Fidelity Investments, White explained.

‘(Financial services) is an area she loves,’ White said of his colleague. ‘She’s a real expert and is looking forward to working on Fidelity.’ The two previously handled such financial services clients as New York Life and Chase Manhattan.

Connors was prompted to contact Cohen after learning she handled direct marketing assignments for Fleet Financial Group. Clarion Direct won that business after a review over a year ago.

The hiring of the new team is not an attempt to wrest Fleet business away from Clarion Direct, the executives maintained last week. White and Cohen have noncompete contracts that would preclude them from pursuing Clarion Direct clients.

White joins the Boston agency for lifestyle reasons as well as for the opportunity to work in an integrated marketing environment.

‘Jack Connors seduced me,’ said White. ‘We have spent a lot of time together over the last year getting to know each other and while I haven’t ever competed against Jack, I’ve admired from afar what he has done with his agency,’ he said. ‘I’m really looking forward to joining a great agency and getting more involved in integrated marketing.’

Ray Rizzo, chairman and chief executive officer of Clarion Marketing & Communications, said money was never an issue. ‘I made counter offers to both of them and believe me this is not about money. Both Don and Judy had very specific lifestyle issues that Jack Connors promised he could solve if they moved to Boston.’

White is an avid sailor eager to relocate to Boston’s North Shore and Cohen’s husband is currently looking for a new job in the high-tech industry, Rizzo said.

Replacements at Clarion Direct are still being sought. Clarion Direct is comparable in size to Hill, Holliday Direct. Both shops report annual billings in the $100 million range, White said.

White and Cohen have worked together for the last 12 years, first at The Direct Marketing Agency where White was chief executive officer and later at Saugatuck Direct. White sold Saugatuck Direct in 1993 to D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and it became a unit of Clarion Marketing & Communications.

The hiring of White and Cohen has resulted in role changes for other Hill, Holliday managers.

Ken Mayaasi and Leslie Kaplan have been advanced to executive vice presidents. Mayaasi oversees database marketing at the Boston agency. Kaplan, hired to co-manage the direct marketing unit two years, has been named group account manager, sharing that title with Terry Carleton and Stever Aubrey.

Marvin Lock, a senior vice president who at one time headed up the direct marketing unit, is now assigned to new business development. Senior vice president Rich Person who joined Hill, Holliday Direct along with Kaplan from IQ&J’s Group 121, now runs Hill, Holliday’s interactive unit.

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