The hire of John Geoghegan as president of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos here is meant to kick-start the agency and bring stability at a turbulent time.
"I've been through three boom or bust cycles, and I've learned that the peak is never as good as anyone says but the bottom is never as bleak," said Geoghegan, 44, who returns to advertising after three years working in the Internet business. "Hill, Holliday will emerge as a survivor, and we'll prosper and have some fun along the way."
When he joins the shop later this month, Geoghegan's top priorities will be to increase the agency's profile while attracting new business.
Geoghegan stepped away from the ad world to run a Web startup and write a book on fatherhood. "I used the time to become a better husband and a better father," he said. "I got a call from a friend in the business who said [former agency president] Nancy Hill was leaving. I was winding things down at home, and it seemed interesting."
He maintains that the shop has been underestimated. "They have strong creative leaders, a solid client list, and they are profitable," he said. "We have a good story to tell, and we are going to tell it. That will be our focus."
Geoghegan was general manager at J. Walter Thompson in San Francisco until late 1999, working on Sun Microsystems, Sunsweet Prunes and the Baby Ruth and Butterfingers candy bars.
He then took over as CEO of CareGuide.com, a San Francisco-based Web firm focusing on child-care and elder-care services.
At Hill, Holliday, Geoghegan will work with lead creative directors Rob Bagot and Joe Kayser.