Succession at WestWayne Plays Out as Planned
ATLANTA–WestWayne president Ben West has moved up to chief executive officer in a transition that has been planned since his Tampa, Fla., shop, WestGroup, merged with Tucker Wayne/Luckie & Co. here in 1996.
The previous CEO, Knox Massey Jr., becomes chairman of the Atlanta agency’s finance committee. Sid Smith continues as chairman of the board.
Though he called his new post “the hot seat,” West described the development as “a bit anti-climactic, since this has been in the works for so long. But it’s always fulfilling to see things go as you plan them.”
West said Massey and Smith will still provide “key input as senior advisors” to business planning and “serve in the [account] management effort with a number of our clients.”
“I can still help them chase business and make sure they’re going to do the right thing for clients,” said Massey, contacted while on a monthlong vacation in Key West, Fla. “But I’ve already stepped back [from full-time status]. Ben was a de facto chief executive officer before he was legally made so, but you have to transition these things. You don’t want to just slam the door on people.”
West dismissed speculation that there would be changes with his formal assumption of the top post at WestWayne, the largest privately held agency in the Southeast with $309 million in annual billings. “For those who know us, they have already seen the changes,” West said. “The reshaping of the philosophy I know it sounds trite, but it really has been an evolution.”
West said he plans to continue his dual residency, with homes in both Georgia and Florida. “Atlanta for the workweek, then return to Florida on the weekends to be with my family,” West said. “Like a lot of modern executives, I am a man of two cities.”
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