Publicis Nabs Goodby’s Byrne

Making their first major hire since taking the helm of Publicis’ Seattle office in February, co-presidents Randy Browning and Kevin Kehoe have tapped Annie Byrne as director of client services.

Byrne, who officially joins the agency today, was most recently an account director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, working on the Discover Card account. She was recruited as part of a national search.

While the title isn’t new—Mark Scott was director of client services before leaving the agency a month ago—Byrne’s responsibilities will be slightly different, Browning said. For instance, all group account management directors will report directly to her.

“My focus is to make sure the work is as good as it can be, and also to create a culture here that is an absolute magnet for talented people,” said Byrne, adding that she hopes to help improve the shop’s creative and strategic output.

Adding Byrne is the latest component of a plan to breathe new life into the 3-year-old office. Kehoe and Browning, who also serve as chief creative officer and chief marketing officer, respectively, joined in February with the goal of inspiring a new creative culture [Adweek, Jan. 22]. Kehoe also previously worked at Goodby.

“Kevin and I are dead serious about building a creative powerhouse here, and Annie is the first proof of delivering on that message,” Browning said. “She’s what I consider one of the best account people in the States. I like the way she’s built brands from a holistic point of view and through good creative work.”

Browning added, “We have an audacious goal here, and we will not succeed unless we bring in and build a management team surrounded by people of Annie’s quality.”

Byrne will oversee a 40-person department and all accounts, which include Hewlett-Packard, Voice Stream Wireless, the Washington State Lottery and the Seattle Seahawks. She will report to Browning.

Byrne, 38, brings to the shop more than 14 years of account management experience. She has also worked at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and Fallon and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, both in New York. The list of clients she has worked on includes Coca-Cola, Nike, Miller Genuine Draft and the National Basketball Association.

Publicis Seattle employs 210 staffers and had estimated 2000 billings of $161 million.