DDB Worldwide in August will launch DDB Ventures, a unit designed to forge alliances and joint ventures that will broaden the agency's marketing resources.
Spearheading the new division is Tom Cotton, former president, global business and director in charge at J. Walter Thompson, here. Cotton, 47, will be president; he starts Aug. 1.
"Tom's natural entrepreneurialism, proven leadership, integration and people skills will enhance DDB's ability to provide fully integrated, savvy services and superior marketing content," said Ken Kaess, president of the DDB Worldwide Communications Group.
Cotton, who will report to Kaess, described his new role as that of a "catalyst." He added: "What we're trying to do here is deliver integrated services beyond those three legs of the current stool--digital, direct and general."
DDB offers an array of so-called below-the-line services under the umbrella of Beyond DDB. It also handles Web marketing through DDB Digital and urban marketing through SpikeDDB.
Cotton will seek to maximize the potential of these units, with the goal of seamless integration. As such, he will serve more as a facilitator and broker, rather than builder. "I'm not interested in building a little empire," Cotton said. "It's much more about the teamwork and the focus" among existing units. Still, Cotton will also seek new ways to build brands, whether it's through investments in specialty companies or joint ventures.
At JWT, Cotton managed the $50 million Qwest Communications account. When he joined the shop in 1998, he was assigned to Merrill Lynch. JWT president Bob Jeffrey is conducting a national search for Cotton's replacement on Qwest, sources said.
Before JWT, Cotton was worldwide account director on AT&T at FCB. He began his career in 1979, as a copywriter and account manager at the former Geer, DuBois.