NEW YORK Jeff McClelland, the former CEO of Cliff Freeman and Partners, is joining Starmark International as president of the privately held agency known primarily for its work in business-to-business advertising and for tourism and hospitality clients like the Convention & Visitors Bureaus in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Kissimmee, Fla., Sandals Resorts and Norwegian Cruise Line.
McClelland replaces Starmark co-founder Peggy Nordeen, who becomes CEO, and co-founder Dan Estes, who moves from CEO to chairman.
Estes, who started his career as an art director at Playboy in the 1970s, said McClelland's mandate is to bring in larger clients and carve out a creative profile in line with Starmark's goal to become a "Southeast powerhouse." He wants the 31-year-old agency, currently with $50-55 million in capitalized billings, to double in size in the next couple of years through business development and acquisitions.
"If you look at Crispin Porter after their first 30 years, we're on the brink of jumping into a whole new league and Jeff is the one to help us do that," said Estes. "He's very strategic in his orientation. He knows and understands great work, which is very important to us. He has a great deal of empathy, which is high in our priorities, since relationships are everything in this business. We have shared philosophies and values when it comes to high integrity and financial discipline."
The 64-year-old Estes said McClelland, 47, becomes part of Starmark's management succession team.
McClelland, who has also worked at Ogilvy & Mather, said that South Florida agencies like Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Zimmerman have paved the way for an agency like Starmark to play on a larger stage.
"It's a chance to take a shop with a CRM/ROI focus in its DNA and give it a stronger creative focus as opposed to a creative shop where you have to introduce ROI into the mix. I want to elevate Starmark's creative and national presence and I learned how to do that at Cliff Freeman and Ogilvy," he said. "But I don't want to have to fix an agency; I want to grow something. This is like a small OgilvyOne and I'll add some b-to-c expertise. Which client isn't screaming for CRM and one-to-one marketing?"
McClelland said he would spend the next 30-60 days at Starmark "accessing the business and seeing where we can add muscle and adjust staff."
Prior to Cliff Freeman, McClelland was managing director at Dentsu Oasis, where he oversaw global advertising for Sharp's Aquos. Earlier in his career at Ogilvy & Mather, he was managing director of the brand integration group as well as global group director, supervising TPAC Northwest Airlines, Starwood Hotels, Amtrak, Miller Brewing, Kodak, Motorola, Maxwell House, Tivoli and WebMD.
McClelland's recruitment follows the March 2009 hire of Alan Whitley, a JWT Atlanta group creative director as Starmark's ecd. Whitley, an eight-year veteran of JWT, was responsible for the U.S. Marine Corps account.
Starmark was founded as a b-to-b company in Chicago in 1978 and relocated its headquarters to Fort Lauderdale in 1998. The agency also has offices in Miami and Orlando, Fla.; Washington, D.C.; and Madrid, Spain, via its acquisition of Miami-based NatCom Marketing, a government consulting and Hispanic firm with operations in the European capital. Starmark, which employs 55 people, also works for government and educational clients.
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