Trone Fills Henderson Void

ATLANTA Trone said it plans to open an office in Greenville, S.C., next month following the closure there of longtime fixture Henderson Advertising.

The independent High Point, N.C., shop has hired nine former Henderson employees to staff the new office, including Rich Pocock, Dan Gilatta and Tom Sloan. Pocock will serve as president; the other two will be executive vice presidents heading management and creative services, respectively.

Previously, Pocock was vice president and general manager of Henderson’s direct market unit, while Gilatta served as senior account director and Sloan was creative director at the main agency.

Trone also picks up two former Henderson clients: the DaimlerChrysler Freightliner Sprinter commercial cargo and passenger van group and the South Financial Group’s Carolina State Bank in South Carolina and Mercantile Bank in Florida. (The nine former Henderson employees all worked on those accounts.)

“It gets us further into the automotive and financial areas,” said Lee Trone, the shop’s chairman and CEO. “We certainly will be pursuing new business there, too.”

Henderson closed on April 3 after 60 years in business. Sources said the shop had been struggling with client defections and a failure to reinvent itself.

Henderson executives have declined to discuss the closing beyond a statement released earlier this month by Ralph Callahan, chairman and CEO, that said, “We have ceased operations and closed our doors effective April 3. We are conducting an orderly liquidation but not bankruptcy.” He also cited “ongoing litigation” that sources attributed to unpaid bills.

The Greenville location represents Trone’s fourth office. In addition to its headquarters in High Point, Trone has outposts in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. The shop employs more than 100 staffers and tallied capitalized billings last year in excess of $100 million.