Bertino Leaves Presidency of Hill, Holliday to Build Hub Satellite
BOSTON–Fred Bertino is ending a 10-year run at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos to become a partner in Square One. Bertino trades in the presidency at one of the top 15 agencies in the country to build from scratch an East Coast office for the four-year old Dallas shop.
Even though Bertino, 42, said the timing of his decision “felt right,” his move comes at a critical juncture, raising the question of whether he was pushed out. Hill, Holliday chairman and chief executive officer Jack Connors and Bertino maintained it was Bertino’s decision to pursue a new venture. Bertino turned down an offer to be creative director of Hill, Holliday USA, overseeing the New York and San Francisco offices. “Fred didn’t want to do that,” Connors said, “and that’s the unvarnished truth.”
At Square One, Bertino reunites with Jamie Mambro, who more than a year ago left HHCC. Earlier this year [Adweek, Feb. 21], Mambro revealed plans to open a Boston office for Square One, its first outside of Dallas. Both Mambro and Bertino become partners with equity stakes in the shop, which in 1999 reported revenues of $9 million on billings of $84 million.
“Hill, Holliday is high RPMs,” Bertino said of his decision to leave. “It’s been a wild 10 years growing from $400 million to $1.2 billion . . . I leave with a good sense of accomplishment.” His achievements included restoring account planning, overseeing the development of the first global advertising campaign for PricewaterhouseCoopers and landing the $40 million Dunkin’ Donuts business two years ago.
Returning to Hill, Holliday as president and executive creative director is Mike Sheehan, 39, who just nine months ago moved to DDB Chicago to become lead creative on McDonald’s. Sheehan, who recently wrapped his first campaign for the fast feeder, tagged “We love to make you smile,” expects to be back at HHCC by mid-July.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Sheehan, a Boston-area native who left Hill, Holliday over a year ago, saying he was burned out and who was said by sources to be in line for a larger role at DDB. “Sure, I’m going home, but it’s a great opportunity to lead a place that I have put heart and soul into.”
Sheehan will not be the only president of Hill, Holliday, however. June Blocklin, on a fast track since arriving from Young & Rubicam in 1998, first to lead new business and a year ago named client services director, was also named president.
Together, Blocklin and Sheehan will run Hill, Holliday’s Boston office, reporting to Connors. Rather than muddy the waters, the appointment of two presidents adds clarity, Sheehan said. “This is a clear structure of shared responsibility.. . . It’s the least ambiguity that I have seen,” he said. K