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GSD&M's Webber Starts New Venture

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DALLAS After nearly a decade at Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Eric Webber is leaving the shop in Austin, Texas, to start his own public relations company.

Webber, 46, will partner with Mark McGarrah and Bryan Jessee, former GSD&M executives who co-founded the McGarrah/Jessee ad agency. Webber's duties at GSD&M end Dec. 31.

"We wish Eric the best," said GSD&M chief operating officer Duff Stewart. "It was a great nine years."

The independent McGarrah/Jessee is just a few blocks from GSD&M. Webber said his startup, Webber/McJ, would share offices with the ad shop but operate separately.

"Some months ago, Mark and Bryan needed to add PR capabilities for their clients," Webber said. "I was thinking about going out on my own at the same time, so we decided to work together."

McGarrah/Jessee's clients include some iconic Texas brands such as Frost Beer, Shiner Beer and Whataburger.

Webber, who first worked at GSD&M as an intern while at the University of Texas at Austin 24 years ago, returned to the agency at GSD&M co-founder Roy Spence's request. At the time, Webber was working in development for an Indiana nonprofit foundation after similar positions at Tulane University in New Orleans and TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

As vp, marketing director, Webber often played a role in developing new business for the agency. Webber has also been actively involved in the American Association of Advertising Agencies and has worked closely with the University of Texas' school of advertising.

"Eric has this uncanny ability to quickly assess a situation and then play it back to you in its most succinct, common sense form," said Dean Jarrett, svp, marketing at The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. "He's savvy about advertising and business, yet you can always count on him to inject some levity when it's needed the most."