Absorption of Direct Unit Spurs Departures, New Leadership
BOSTON–The painful demise of a once promising direct marketing agency will be completed next month when Wickersham Hunt Schwantner & Partners is absorbed by parent company Arnold Communications.
Agency principals Lysle Wickersham, Jim Schwantner and Amy Hunt have moved on to new pursuits outside the agency, said Arnold chairman and chief executive officer Ed Eskandarian. Hunt and Schwantner have taken jobs at Clearway Technologies, Boston, while Wickersham, who could not be reached for comment, was said to be considering various options. “It was truly his choice to leave,” Eskandarian said of Wickersham. “We offered him a very important role here in interactive that he turned down.”
Wickersham Hunt had in recent years operated as a subsidiary of Arnold, separate from both the parent company and the agency’s direct marketing department.
At its peak in 1998, it reported billings of $160 million and worked for such clients as Media One and Bose. But a series of missteps, including an exchange of lawsuits stemming from the acquisition of Boston rival Berenson, Isham & Partners last year, a subsequent out of court settlement and the loss of both Bose and Media One, doomed the shop [Adweek, Jan. 31].
A decision was made by Eskandarian to fold the two direct marketing operations inside Arnold under Schwantner. But as the date approached for completion of the move, the three principals opted to leave, Eskandarian said.
Taking over for the departing trio is Karen Riordan and Alan Blose. Riordan joined Arnold four years ago as vice president and management supervisor on The Hartford account. She now becomes chief marketing officer of the 85-person unit, tentatively called Arnold Integrated Services. Blose, senior vice president and creative director, joined Arnold a year ago from Wunderman Cato Johnson in New York. K