LOS ANGELES David Smith has been named independent RPA's first ecd, according to Larry Postaer, partner and director of creative services.
Postaer, who effectively held that post for 22 years and has reached his 50th year in advertising, said he was not retiring, but only "cutting back" and retaining the evp, director of creative services titles.
The move charges Smith, 46, to lead all of RPA's creative, which includes American Honda Motors, La-Z-Boy, Soyjoy, and oversee the national advertising, broadcast production and design groups.
Previously, as svp and creative director, he teamed with fellow group creative director Joe Baratelli. Smith worked mostly on Honda; Mark Erwin and Pat Mendelson have been similarly teamed on Acura.
Postaer said that for the time being, at least, Baratelli would remain the sole creative leader on Honda. He added that all the prospective executive creative directors at the agency were unanimously in favor of Smith's ascent to the leadership position. "When I told the other likely candidates, to a man they said, 'I would have made the same decision,'" Postaer said.
"I expect him to get very involved in integration, more than I did," Postaer said. "And he'll work a lot of our campaigns with the Internet component uppermost in his mind.
Smith joined the Santa Monica, Calif., agency in 1990 as an associate creative director. After a short stint at Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas, in 1994, he rejoined RPA when it was Rubin Postaer & Associates.
Smith's memorable work at RPA includes work for the Honda Accord ("Beyond the Road"), the 2005 Honda Civic relaunch, the largely animated Honda Element effort, "Too Much Good Stuff" for ARCO's am/pm, La-Z-Boy's recent repositioning ("Comfort. It's what we do") and a Honda brand campaign in 2004 that compared various models to the people who drive them.
Smith has also worked on Pharmavite's Soyjoy, Pioneer, Blue Cross, American Century Investments, the Disney Channel, VH1 and California Pizza Kitchen.