Ogilvy & Mather, JWT, McCann Erickson and Bartle Bogle Hegarty have recently hired new business chiefs, with JWT and BBH filling vacancies that had existed for months. Ogilvy's position—global new business director—is new, but nonetheless took about a year to fill.
The lengthy searches reflect the difficulty of casting for a role that has become more complex, given the demands of major reviews and the changing nature of shops themselves. Reviews have been complicated by the expanding marketing needs of clients, the ubiquity of search consultants and the participation of procurement executives, among other factors.
After Ogilvy, JWT had the next longest search at 11 months, followed by BBH at five months and McCann at less than two months.
McCann's position -- new business director for the New York office of the IPG shop—wasn't vacant; rather, Matt Weiss retained the role even after he rose to U.S. chief growth officer for McCann Worldgroup in late 2005. He also holds the McCann N.Y. title of chief of brand growth and innovation. McCann's new hire, Neil Smith, joins from BBH N.Y., where he was a business director on accounts like Johnnie Walker and British Airways. Before that, he worked on the Mini Cooper account at independent Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, Calif. Smith, 43, started Jan. 1.
WPP's Ogilvy, which interviewed outside and inside candidates, ultimately hired from within, this week naming network veteran Gustavo Martinez both global new business director and global director of global brand management.
While the former position is new, the latter is not and has rotated among the agency's global client management leaders. Most recently, London-based Tony Grigg held the post.
Martinez, who starts Feb. 1, is transferring to New York from Ogilvy's Mexico City office, where he was chief operating officer of Ogilvy Latino. He had held that role since 2006. The 46-year-old executive joined the network in 2000, as president of Ogilvy Argentina.
"I loved Gustavo's hunting instincts," said worldwide CEO Miles Young, in explaining the hire. He further described Martinez as a "bundle of energy" who's "strategic" and has a "clear point of view."
Lee Davis, who started this week as new business director at WPP's JWT N.Y., fills the hole created when K.J. Weir left in Feb. 2009 to become a recruiter at The Talent Business. Previously, Davis, 45, was a group account director at the New York office of Wieden + Kennedy, where he worked on Delta Air Lines.
Before that, he spent nine years at Wieden's Portland, Ore., office, where he helped manage brands such as Heineken, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Powerade.
BBH, which hired freelancer Christine Huang as head of business development, hadn't had a full-time new business chief since June 2009, when Jason Hill decamped for business school. Huang, 42, consulted at shops such as Venables Bell & Partners and Berlin Cameron United before joining BBH, a Publicis Groupe-backed shop in New York.