JWT Taps Heffernan To Rebuild In Chicago

Brian Heffernan, who was named president of J. Walter Thompson’s Chicago office last week, said he intends to restore the agency’s stability by first focusing on current clients–including Kraft Foods, H.J. Heinz and Oscar Mayer–and then on garnering new business.
“It’s not fun to lose business, and we’re going to stop,” he said. “The only business that matters is sustainable business.” That philosophy will help the agency attract new business and new talent and restore its luster, Heffernan maintains.
Heffernan, director of new business development worldwide for JWT since 1996, succeeds John Clinton, who had led the Chicago office with the title of general manager for nearly two years. Clinton has returned to his native Canada to assume the chairmanship of JWT Canada in Toronto. He replaces Ted Nation, who left the agency.
Chris Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of JWT Worldwide, said Clinton’s move was “entirely determined” by changes in Canada and were unrelated to any perceived problems with the Chicago office. He said Clinton was “uniquely qualified” to head JWT’s Canadian operations, especially in building the agency through the addition of more Canadian-based clients.
Nevertheless, Clinton’s tenure at JWT Chicago was marked by the loss of several top executives–including at least four group management directors–and of such accounts as Office Depot, 7-Eleven and Midas. Its wins during that time included Dell Computer’s $70 million account and a Kraft Foods corporate branding assignment.
Lori Donchak, worldwide account director on the office’s keystone Kraft business, had announced her intention to leave in April after less than a year in the post. However, it was announced last week she will remain. Jones said Donchak’s decision was not related to Clinton’s departure.
David Faulkner, recently brought in from JWT’s London office to head the Kraft business after Donchak’s expected departure, will stay in Chicago, Heffernan said. The two will divide leadership duties on the business.
“We’re going to manage the account differently than we have in the past,” Heffernan said.