18-Year Saatchi Vet Charged With Building Business
BOSTON–When Beau Fraser walks through the doors of Pagano, Schenck & Kay this morning, it will be what a past co-worker called “just what the doctor ordered.”
Fraser, the former director of business development at Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, becomes the Boston shop’s second president since it was founded in Providence, R.I., 12 years ago. Fraser, who brings more than 18 years of account management experience and an equally impressive new-business track record, faces an impressive challenge: Build business for the $25 million, creatively focused shop.
Woody Kay, agency chairman and executive creative director, has shouldered the burden of running the shop as chairman, executive creative director and president since the departures last year of former president Rick Sandler and partner Bob Pagano. Fraser’s arrival heralds the “brightest years yet for PSK,” Kay promised last week. “He knows how to build an agency.”
Kay, who declined to reveal the specifics of Fraser’s employment contract, said his hiring ends a four-month search.
Fraser spent 18 years at Saatchi New York, the largest office in Saatchi’s global network, which boasts billings of $1.5 million and more than 500 employees. He brought several high-profile clients into the London-based, Cordiant-owned Saatchi, including DuPont and PaineWebber. Fraser reported to Tony Dalton, vice chairman for Saatchi North America. Dalton will absorb Fraser’s duties on DuPont, and management director Doug Moore will replace Fraser on PaineWebber.
“I think you just reach a stage where you have an entrepreneurial bent. I could have stayed [at Saatchi], but I think it will be more fun to be part of building something. It’s one of the easier career decisions I’ve had to make,” Fraser said.
Arthur Anderson, a principal with Morgan Anderson Consulting in New York, which assists clients with agency reviews, said Fraser should help PSK “spread its wings and go after national clients.”
Voicing a similar sentiment was Michael Jeary, who ran new business at Saatchi prior to Fraser and is now president of Della Femina/Jeary & Partners in New York.
“[Beau] brings strategic discipline and a flair for really understanding and recognizing a big idea in creative,” Jeary said. “He is a detail person, too. His strengths and personal skills will be terrific in an operation that’s team-oriented. I think Woody Kay has a great reputation, and this is going to be a neat partnership.”
As a manager, Fraser was described by former colleagues as someone who delegates but doesn’t let details slip through the cracks. “He allows people to do their job,” Jeary noted.
The involvement in daily operations of the 23-person agency is what Fraser expects will be his biggest challenge.
“One thing I missed when Saatchi got big was the ability to have hands- on involvement. I like seeing the process through until completion, and I think you lose that at large agencies,” he said. One of Fraser’s hopes is that he will be able to bring account management to the forefront. He intends to beef up PSK’s current department by hiring both account managers and planners.
Fraser arrives at PSK during a time of relative stability, following a tumultuous period last fall. The acrimonious departure of Sandler, the shop’s first president, after only 18 months was followed by the resignation of Pagano and the loss of the Dexter shoe and Eastern Bank accounts.
Kay worked quickly to stem the agency’s losses. He added several new accounts, including the Wallpaper Council and Liberty Financial, and stabilized relationships with clients such as A.T. Cross, Data General Corp., Webster Bank and Whistler Corp.
Once Fraser crosses the agency’s threshold, his first order of business will be to call a meeting. “I’ll talk about the PSK brand and what it means to me as an outsider. We get so caught up in day-to-day basics that we lose sight of what we are,” he said.
“We’ll look at the creative [options] and talk about due diligence. Going to the national level,” Fraser maintained, “won’t be a difficult step.”
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