Ogilvy’s Jeroen Bours Heading to Hill, Holliday

NEW YORK Jeroen Bours, an executive CD at WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather here, has left the agency to take the creative reins at the crosstown operations of Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.

At Hill, Holliday, New York, Bours replaces David Wecal as evp, executive CD; Wecal is leaving the agency, sources said. Wecal had for two years also been office president until October, when the agency brought in Brian Carty from its San Francisco office to take that post.

Carty and Wecal did not return calls. A representative at Hill, Holliday’s Boston headquarters provided no information about Bours.

A highly regarded art director, Bours for the past two years had helped develop and nurture the ubiquitous “mLife” campaign for AT&T Wireless. He has also worked on ads for American Express. Bours will join Hill, Holliday within the month. The office’s largest assignment is its regional Verizon Wireless business, worth about $60-80 million. Bours’ AT&T experience is expected to translate well to Verizon, which is a major reason Hill, Holliday is bringing him aboard, sources said.

Hill, Holliday has been anxious to strengthen its position with Verizon and expand the business if possible. Last summer, the agency became involved in an embarrassing episode in which chief integration officer Laurel Rossi and Bozell group creative director Rich Levy suggested to Verizon Wireless that Bozell’s portion of the account be shifted to Hill, Holliday, sources said. Levy would then have joined Hill, Holliday.

Verizon Wireless’ vp of marketing, John Stratton, and vp of advertising, Marvin Davis, rejected the overture.

Stratton in turn alerted Bozell president Tom Bernardin, who, with the client’s approval, dismissed Levy, sources said. (Bozell is also owned by IPG).

Hill, Holliday has also courted for purchase Greenville, S.C., agency Erwin-Penland (a Verizon roster shop) in the hope of expanding with the client.

A key factor in Bours’ decision to leave Ogilvy was an impending transfer to the shop’s operations in London, sources said.