Chairman and chief executive officer Ric Calvillo, vice chairman/executive creative officer John Ferrell and an undisclosed number of partners are purchasing the accounts of the agency - excepting that relating to Ross Roy's Kmart client - including the agency's package design and direct marketing facilities. Vice chairman, executive creative officer Peter Hirsch, will remain with Ross Roy, and run the Kmart national advertising from a New York office. The sale had been expected (ADWEEK, Sept. 13).
The new agency, which has yet to be named, will retain clients including Monsieur Henri Wines/Stolichnaya Vodka, Toshiba, Corning and Giant-Eagle Supermarkets, among others, for combined billings of $85 million. There will be about 45 employees to start.
For Calvillo and Ferrell, the buyback ends nearly three years of frustration during which CHF's attempts to secure new business were often thwarted by its tenuous support from Ross Roy. Indeed, until recently Ross Roy had been in a holding pattern for more than two years as former chairman Glen Fortinberry's health failed, and the agency lacked a succession plan. That situation was made worse in late 1992 and early this year as Ross Roy was in protracted and fruitless merger discussions with BBDO.
Following Fortinberry's death last month, Peter Mills - formerly president of BBDO North America who arrived in June - was named chairman of the company.
'We are enthusiastic about this opportunity to be independent and have been working towards this goal for some time,' said Calvillo. Added Mills, 'We feel this move is in the best interest of everyone, and we'll do everything we can from our side to make it happen.'
Ferrell, who joined the advertising agency last year, said he has a lot of confidence in what he and Calvillo can build. 'We've launched a program called The Guaranteed Idea where we guarantee the results of our ideas for clients by staking our profits against them, and we have really hit a nerve,' said Ferrell.
Ross Roy bought Calet, Hirsch & Spector - formerly Calet, Hirsch Kurnat & Spector; and Delehanty, Kurnit & Geller before that - in 1986.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)