Co-founder Chaiet Retires; Austin, Freund Gain Stakes in Agency
ATLANTA–Creative director Andrƒ Nel, who moved to Pollak Levitt Chaiet here from The Richards Group in Dallas almost two years ago, today celebrates not only his 44th birthday, but the addition of his name to the agency’s door.
The growing 10-year-old Atlanta shop is now known as Pollak Levitt & Nel. The name change reflects Nel’s partnership as well as the retirement of co-founder Al Chaiet.
Nel’s “overall creative contributions and the importance of creative to the agency” inspired the decision, said Pollak Levitt & Nel (PL&N) president and chief executive officer Jim Pollak.
At the time Nel arrived at PL&N, the South African native saw the move as an opportunity “to come in and put [my] stamp on the place.” [Adweek, Oct. 21, 1996].
Two other executives have also gained shareholder status: Rob Austin, recruited earlier this year as president and chief operating officer from The Ramey Agency in Jackson, Miss.; and seven-year PL&N veteran Jan Freund, senior vice president and group account director.
The changes do not stop there. A recent increase in personnel forced the agency to find larger quarters. Today PL&N employees officially move into custom-designed space in the same Buckhead district office complex.
“[Last year] was a tremendous growth [period] for us,” said Austin. “With the expansion of our interactive media division and the addition of a new public relations division, it was time to make the move to accommodate our expanding team.”
Making the move to the new location are 55 staffers–up from the 35-40 of last summer, Pollak said. The additions are the result of surging billings from clients such as Powertel and Georgia Power. At the time Nel joined the agency in 1996, agency billings were approximately $20 million. Last year Pollak said PL&N reported about $34 million.
For Nel, the new name and the new environment add up to “a new lease on life. We’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. We’re making a statement in the community of Atlanta . . . We’re serious about competing.”
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