Bill Westbrook last week set about filling a tough double order at Fallon McElligott: succeeding Pat Burnham as creative director, he takes the reins of one of the most closely watched creative departments; as president, he'll lead the $175 million agency's new-business charge.
He's confident he can pull it off, and boost Fallon into a national powerhouse. But a lot is riding on his success.
After failing to advance to the final round in the Audi of America pitch and weathering several months without participation in a major national review, new business is a must for Fallon and one of the key reasons he was hired.
'This is a different kind of assignment for me,' Westbrook said. 'It's not a rebuilding situation as I've done in other places. Fallon McElligott is a shop that could be said to be playing at the top of its game. Now we need to go after new business and play at the top of a bigger game.'
Westbrook's role as functional leader of the agency takes the day-to-day pressure off of chairman Pat Fallon, freeing him to spend time on big picture issues such as the possible buyback from parent Scali, McCabe, Sloves/N.Y. (ADWEEK, July 12)
'The creative department is so strong and there is so much support here that I think the combined role of president and creative director will work,' Westbrook said. 'I don't think any other agency could combine those two roles and make it work as well.'
Westbrook, who officially started last week, was hired in May from The Martin Agency/Richmond, Va., where he was vice chairman and director of creative services.
'Westbrook has got everyone energized,' said one staffer who declined to be named. 'The last several months have been rocky with regards to new business so I think everyone is glad Westbrook is on staff to take the lead on that. And he's very committed to the work this agency does.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)