Trone in No Hurry to Replace Perkins as President

With the departure of Natalie Perkins, Trone Advertising has launched a search for a new president.

Perkins, a 14-year veteran of the Greensboro, N.C., shop, left earlier this month.

“We respect Natalie’s decision to pursue other interests and wish her well,” said agency chief executive officer Lee Trone.

Perkins did not return calls at press time, but sources said she and Trone had disagreed on the role of agency president in the overall management structure.

Trone said he will continue as CEO overseeing the agency, its public relations unit and its Atlanta satellite, adding that he will allocate some of the president’s duties across the shop’s management team.

The team, headed by director of account management Mike Fox, also includes creative director Steve Dunkley and media director Ira Bass, all of whom were hiredby Perkins during her two-year tenure as president.

“It runs as a committee with me making the final decisions,” said Trone. “I can be outvoted by them convincing me to be.”

According to Trone, there is no hurry to fill Perkins’ shoes.

“When Natalie took the job, it was coming on the heels of some fast decisions, but now we’ve got time to figure out how to structure the job,” Trone said.

He said he expects to hire a replacement by year’s end.

“We’ll be looking for someone who believes in where the agency needs to go creatively,” said Trone. “We can provide all the strategy that clients want, but a lot of clients can do that themselves. The distinguishing factor is creative.”

Under Perkin’s leadership, the shop continued its transition from big tobacco (R.J. Reynolds) to business-to-business brands like Syngenta Professional Products and Healthtex by VF Playwear. Trone also added Tanger Outlets, a shopping mall chain in the Southeast.

Perkins was also instrumental in the purchase of Atlanta’s Pollak Levitt & Partners in late 2000.

Jackson Houk continues as president of TroneAtlanta.