WhittmanHart CEO Dies

NEW YORK WhittmanHart founder Bob Bernard died Friday from an apparent heart attack, according to an obituary placed by his family in the Chicago Tribune. He was 45.

Bernard founded the Chicago agency in 2003 out of the assets of bankrupt dot-com era consultancy/Web shop MarchFirst, which had acquired WhittmanHart in 2000. Bernard merged its assets with Form + Function Consulting, a firm he founded in 2001.

WhittmanHart rebounded with the revival of demand for online advertising, Web design and consulting services. It now has nine offices and over 400 employees. In September it hired investment bank DecisionPoint to advise it on an acquisition strategy. Later that month, it bought DNA Studio, a Los Angeles-based Web video specialist that works for several Hollywood studios.

The company, which is independent, has named Paul Wimer, a member of its board of directors, to serve as chairman and CEO, positions held by Bernard. (Wimer is a managing director of Topspin Partners, an investor in WhittmanHart. He has served on the board for the past five years.)

“Bob had a tremendous impact on this organization,” Wimer said in a statement. “Under his leadership, WhittmanHart grew from a small IT consulting shop to become the dynamic interactive agency and business consultancy it is today.”

Bernard is survived by his wife Elisa, and children Kendal and Bryce.