Kushell Takes CEO Post at C+M

Chuck Kushell, who left advertising more than a year ago to found Internet startup Focus One Media Group, has re-en tered the industry as CEO of Colle + McVoy.

Kushell, 48, joined the Minneapolis shop last week, having sold software rights for Focus One to a client. He replaces Jim Bergeson, who in January of this year became a consultant for the shop’s parent, Maxx com, said agency president Phil Johnson.

Johnson said Kushell’s client contacts and image as a “problem-solver” made him right for the job. He said the agency was impressed with Kushell’s background, citing tenures at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in New York, a strong marketing shop, and Cliff Freeman and Partners, a strong creative agency. “He’s going to focus on business development,” Johnson said.

Kushell joined Hill, Holliday in New York as president in 1996 and left in March 2000 to start Focus One. From 1991 to 1996, he was COO at Cliff Freeman in New York. He also had a stint at Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago, working on Sears.

“I wanted to get back into the agency business,” said Kush ell, who was familiar with Maxxcom through various agency relationships. He called the Toronto-based holding company “an accelerator for entrepreneurs.”

C+M, dominated by business-to-business clients, is trying to snag more consumer business. Kushell said his first task is to expand the shop’s knowledge base so it can attract a wider array of accounts.

“The first thing is to define the agency in such a way that it can manage consumers,” Kushell said. “You will never broaden your client base unless people are convinced you know about their bus i ness.”

Johnson said the shop had been conducting a CEO search “on and off” through out the year.

Kushell rounds out a top-level reorganization at C+M that includes the hiring of John Jarvis as creative director last year and Amy Myers as director of account planning earlier this year.

“What we’re looking for is to turbocharge our brand-development skills,” Johnson said.

Colle + McVoy claims about $180 million in billings and employs about 200 staffers. Its accounts include the Minnesota Department of Tourism and the Turkish Tourism Bureau. Kushell specified travel as one area where the shop plans to expand its portfolio.