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Arnold Fortifies McD's Team

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Verret to Take Charge on Boston; Doner Exec to Head N.Y. Crew
BOSTON--Looking to mollify jittery McDonald's operators, Arnold Communications is adding ballast to its account management team.
Returning to the Boston agency is John Verret, who prior to retiring in 1995 was nicknamed "Mr. McDonald's," owing to his years of service on the fast-food account.
Arnold has also recruited Jon Tracosas of Doner, a seasoned account executive noted for his relationship management, to succeed John Floegel as general manager of its New York office.
Floegel, a former McDonald's owner/operator who joined the New York office in pursuit of a career change, will stay on as a consultant to Tracosas and others at Arnold who work on the business.
All three executives report to Arnold chief operating officer Tom Lawson, the managing partner on the combined $130 million McD's account. Lawson has been working to shore up the management team since December, when the McDonald's Boston co-operative put the agency on notice [Adweek, Dec. 13], stopping just short of saying it would conduct an open review.
That action, according to one agency source,was a "very loud wake-up call. [Arnold] is really fearful that any discontent would ripple across all its franchises."
Verret, who has been consulting to agencies on presentations and new business since leaving Arnold, plans to keep that practice alive while working on McD's, he said. "I signed on as a long-term consultant," Verret said. "They'll either have to scrape me off like a barnacle or piss me off, but I am going to work on the [Boston McD's] account as long as they need me."
Pressure has also been on the 61-year-old Lawson to build a succession plan. The expectation is that Tracosas will "evolve" into a larger role, one source said. For now, the emphasis is McDonald's.
"This is a vast account," said Lawson. "Every month we have between 25 and 200 owner/operators in a room to either sell on a new program or tell how the existing one is doing. Jon is a wonderful relationship guy who has a great sense of long-term thinking."
Tracosas joins Arnold from Doner in Southfield, Mich., where, since 1998, he had been executive vice president of client service. His roots are all New York. He is the nephew of legendary adman George Lois and prior to joining Doner in 1995 to run its Baltimore office, Tracosas had worked at Deutsch, Lois USA, J, Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. He is considered to have a particular strength in planning.
"Jon is a one of the real quality human beings in this business," said former boss Donny Deutsch. K