Seeking to reinvigorate its creative product, Ketchum Advertising in Pittsburgh has named Lee St. James as its executive creative director.
St. James, 38, most recently was a vice president and group creative director with Austin Kelley Advertising in Atlanta. His lengthy resume also includes stints as creative director at Folio Z in Atlanta and The Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla., as well as stops at Arian, Lowe & Travis in Chicago and Louisville, Ky., at Temerlin McClain, Dallas, and at Valentine Radford, Kansas City.
He replaces Ketchum veteran Cliff Miller, who left the agency earlier this summer.
St. James acknowledges he's had difficulty fitting in at several agencies, although not his latest. "I'm going to miss [Austin Kelley]. It's going to be one of the very first times that I've ever left a company [feeling] sad," St. James said. "Normally, I'm just off in a huff."
It's that sort of prickliness, attributed to high standards, that Jim Ficco, Ketchum president, said he found appealing. "He's restless and he's hungry and he wants to get good work," said Ficco, who added that he had screened dozens of candidates for the job.
Ficco said putting St. James in charge will allow the creative director to do things his own way and remove tensions that may have existed at previous jobs.
"He's a guy who's driven to have the top job, which he has here, so that's out of the way," Ficco said.
"In a nutshell, I was looking for someone who can be my partner in running the agency."
Ketchum is part of the Omnicom Group and Ficco reports to TBWA Chiat/Day chairman and worldwide chief executive officer Bill Tragos.
Ficco downplayed rumors that Ketchum soon will adopt the TBWA Chiat/Day title, although he acknowledged it's been discussed.
"That's not happening in the short-term," Ficco said.