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Knight Joins Gearon Hoffman

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BOSTON-Robert Knight has joined Gearon Hoffman as senior vice president and director of business development, a new position at the midsized agency.

Knight will work with agency principals Dan Gearon and Bob Hoffman to lure new accounts.

Prior to joining the Boston-based shop, Knight served as vice president of marketing at real estate site Smartcity.com, Cambridge, Mass. He has an extensive background in broadcast sales, mainly with Knight Quality Stations, Boston, a radio concern once owned by his family.

Both Knight and Hoffman, the agency's president, cited that sales background as a plus as Knight makes the transition to the agency business. "We need someone with the skills to sell the agency," Hoffman said. "Bob has great contacts nationally—a great Rolodex" of high-level decision makers to approach at potential clients.

Mining business beyond the New England region—a stated mission of many local agencies that few smaller players have successfully put into practice—will be paramount, the executives agreed.

Financial services, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and sporting goods/footwear are all niches Knight hopes to develop.

Despite recent growth that has taken the agency past $60 million in billings, new-business opportunities and the economic climate in general fell off in the latter half of 2000, Hoffman pointed out. With fewer dot-coms on the horizon and heightened competition among agencies, "right now is the time to go after specific pieces of business we want," Hoffman said.