Tech branding specialists Donino, White & Partners made its long-rumored, high-profile hire last week, tapping Andrƒ Nel as executive creative director.
Nel joins the Atlanta agency from crosstown competitor Pollak, Levitt & Nel, where he had been chief creative officer since 1997.
Nel's previous shop immediately pulled his name off the door and announced it was changing its identity to Pollak Levitt & Partners. Associate creative directors Brad Ramsey and Jeff Cole have been elevated to co-creative directors.
In announcing Nel's hire, DW&P president and chief executive Frank Donino confirmed that the shop's current executive creative director, Dick Briner, would be taking a leave of absence for health reasons.
"Dick has what started as lung cancer and has spread to his chest area," Donino said. "He has been working with us as he's fought this condition, but his job now is to go through treatments and fight this disease and not worry about what he has to do at work here."
Nel said that despite PL&N losing its signature telecommunications client Powertel last year, he had not been shopping for a job. He said he became "intrigued" after being contacted by DW&P, which he described as "riding a rocketship."
Donino, White & Partners has added nearly $100 million in billings since this time last year. The shop is hovering around the $150 million mark.
A native of South Africa, Nel, 44, spent several years as creative director at The Richards Group in Dallas. He also worked in the creative departments at Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas, and at BBDO and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, both New York. Accounts he has worked on include American Airlines, Budweiser, HBO, NationsBank and Pizza Hut.
Nel begins at DW&P Feb. 28.