Looking to Remain Agile, Agency Nixes Merger With Euro RSCG
LOS ANGELES--Matt Hofherr will start the new year as a partner at Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ.
Hofherr, 31, previously a partner, chief strategist and account planner at Gardner, Geary Coll & Young, San Francisco, joins crosstown shop Citron as director of business development and brand strategist. Before joining GGC&Y three years ago, he worked at Foote, Cone & Belding's San Francisco office.
GGC&Y president Bob Gardner said there are no immediate plans to replace Hofherr, who helped quadruple the agency's billings by adding such clients as eHealthinsurance.com, More.com and DoveBid.
"I'm going from a really good traditional agency to a really great fully integrated shop," Hofherr said of his move to Citron, previously considered a consumer ad shop. "They have a vision and the backbone of great creativity."
That vision apparently calls for staying independent. Last week, the shop, which has doubled its billings in the last year, called off efforts to merge with New York-based agency network Euro RSCG Worldwide. Citron had also been in talks to form an alliance with direct response shop aka Euro RSCG (formerly Cohn & Wells) in San Francisco (see below).
"We just see the way our business is going; being independent will allow us to do what we do better," said Tom Bedecarrƒ, agency chairman. "[As an independent], we will be more agile and focused on what's coming out of Silicon Valley and San Francisco."
A Euro RSCG representative said "too many differences" existed for the deal to be consummated.
Bedecarrƒ noted that Citron's focus has changed since the announcement earlier this year that Euro RSCG planned to acquire a majority stake in the shop. At that time, Citron executives saw the deal as a way to gain global capabilities and attract new clients. The agency has been using Euro RSCG as part of its name for several months.
Citron has won several Web-related accounts over the past year, including Cnet, Goodhome.com and Women.com. It lost the TV portion of the $100 million Cnet account largely because it could not staff up fast enough to handle the demands of the business, said sources.
"A year ago, dot.coms were a small blip on the radar screen," Bedecarrƒ observed. "The Internet eliminates any barriers to starting new companies and new brands. For these clients, there's instant availability but not instant awareness," creating growing opportunities for agencies, he said.