Rienstra Now CEO, Leaving Presidency to Morrow
DALLAS-A management shift at Witherspoon & Associates has paved the way for both a future leader and a new growth strategy for the small Fort Worth, Texas, agency.
Agency president Roger Rienstra, 59, has relinquished that role in order to move up to chairman and chief executive officer. He makes way for former executive vice president and creative director Debra Morrow to be promoted to the presidency.
Morrow, 42, spent eight years climbing the creative department’s ranks. Last year, she landed duties as a member of the shop’s management team.
Rienstra said the changeover provides a clear line of succession between Morrow and himself, although he has no plans to retire. His principal thoughts now are on finding new profit centers for the $26 million agency, such as strategic planning, he said.
“We have to come up with some new growth initiatives … and one of them is becoming more and more involved in broad-based, marketing consulting services,” said Rienstra, who has been with the 53-year-old agency since 1962. He succeeded agency founder Guy Witherspoon at the helm of the agency in 1973.
“We are in a time when fewer and fewer clients are interested in all of an agency’s full-service offerings,” said Rienstra.
“Traditional advertising agencies are being pushed into a vendor role. I think we’re more than that,” he added.
Morrow came to Witherspoon in 1990 as a senior copywriter. She was named creative director in late 1992. In March 1998, she was promoted to her executive vp post.
Morrow’s former job has gone to Mike Wilie, 44. A 23-year veteran of the agency, Rienstra cites him as a key account service executive for many of the shop’s most important clients, such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Blue Mesa Grill and Americredit Financial Services. Wilie was formerly senior vice president, a position he has held since 1992. ƒ