Talk about a baptism of fire.
Robert Harwood-Matthews, in his first five months as president of the New York office of TBWA\Chiat\Day, has lost one of his office’s biggest accounts (Vonage) and laid off 5 percent of his staff as a result. During the same period, Absolut, a mainstay global account run out of New York, exited for Sid Lee.
On the plus side, the Omnicom Group shop won beIN Sport’s creative business and is pursuing other creative accounts. Harwood-Matthews also is putting his stamp on the office with the hiring of new top managers.
The latest is Aki Spicer, the former director of digital strategy at Fallon in Minneapolis, who joins March 18 as head of digital strategy. The position is new and designed to “guide us on the right type of digital work to put out there,” Harwood-Matthews said today.
Spicer, 40, will focus primarily on existing accounts, though he’ll also contribute to new business pitches. He’ll report to head of planning Ed Castillo.
The latest hire comes five weeks after Leigh Baker joined as head of account management. Baker, who formerly was a global account lead at SapientNitro in New York, filled a vacancy created when managing director Stephanie Retcho left for Kayak in January 2011.
In his new role, Baker, 42, manages a department of about 35 and leads the shop’s Accenture business. Other agency accounts include Michelin, GlaxoSmithKline and Jameson.
The new hires are expected to contribute significantly to the day-to-day running of the agency. As such, they’ll work closely with Harwood-Matthews and Mark Figliulo, the chairman and chief creative officer. As Harwood-Matthews explained, “What I’m trying to do is create a more roundtable approach to management at the agency.”