DETROIT-McCann-Erickson in Troy, Mich., has named a new executive creative director after what managing director Gunnar Wilmot called an "exhaustive," six-month, nationwide search.
Kent Aitchison, 43, joins the agency on Oct. 21 from Ogilvy & Mather in Detroit, where he was a senior vice president and creative director. He replaces John Mead, who retired from McCann in June.
A Detroit native, Aitchison has a long history with the Big Three automakers. His relationship with O&M client Ford Motor Co. began in the early 1970s when he was a factory worker and stamped sheet metal as a college job.
His career has included three separate stints totaling 11 years at Young & Rubicam, Detroit, as well as a copywriting position in the early 1980s at General Motors agency Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich.
Aitchison said his automotive background should be helpful in servicing McCann's largest client, GM. McCann is the national agency for GM's Buick division and the GMC portion of the Pontiac-GMC division.
"I think he'll be driven by the strategic focus that our clients have, the strategic brand-building focus," Wilmot said. "It's a creative challenge, certainly, but it's also an intellectual challenge. And I think he'll respond well to that stimulus."
Wilmot said he is impressed with Aitchison's leadership skills. While the creative work coming out of McCann is already good, Wilmot said, Aitchison will be called upon to "continue to raise the bar."
Aitchison will supervise the five group creative directors and coordinate the efforts of both the broadcast and print production departments.
GM's Buick division has been striving to build a new image for itself and its brands in order to draw younger consumers into the fold. But sales are just starting to respond to marketing efforts.