Watch out. Deutsch is coming to Boston.
The largest independent advertising agency in the United States, led by the hard-charging Donny Deutsch, plans to open its third full-service office here, managed by Kathy Kiely and Kristin Volk, both former executives at Arnold Communications.
Kiely, a creative director who left Arnold in June following a brief stint in new business, will be executive vice president and general manager.
Volk, who helped build Arnold's account planning capabilities and was instrumental in its rapid ascent to the $1 billion mark in billings, will be executive vice president and director of strategic planning.
Deutsch Boston's aim: to be a $300 million office in three years, replicating the success Deutsch achieved in Los Angeles, its only other full-service office, which opened four years ago. Deutsch's outpost in Chicago, according to chief executive officer Donny Deutsch, is just a service office.
"We are starting with a pair of great athletes," Deutsch said of the team assembled in the Boston office. "They have a tremendous new business track record combined with the power and strength of Deutsch."
The shop is being opened to help Kiely. She wanted to work for Deutsch but remain in a market she believes is rich with opportunity.
That opportunity stems from several sources: the transformation of the local economy fueled by dot.coms and the sale of the region's top three agencies to out-of-town holding companies, demoralizing some staffers who wish to work in more entrepreneurial environments.
Those sales include Arnold to Snyder Communications in Bethesda, Md., and both Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, and Mullen, Wenham, Mass., to the Interpublic Group, New York.
"I think Boston is changing," she said. "It's younger, hipper and there's a lot of new potential from [emerging] companies. We aim to be smarter, fresher, quicker."
Volk, who joined Arnold [then Humphrey Browning MacDougall] in 1986 and resigned last week, said she leaves "at the top of my game for an opportunity that was too good to pass up."
Volk is the second top executive to leave Arnold in recent months and its most senior-ranking woman.
Managing partner Dick Emerson resigned in September to join Toth Brand Imaging in Concord, Mass., as chief operating officer.
As for Kiely, she quietly left Arnold in June, just months after she moved out of the creative department, where she had overseen Talbots and The Hartford, and into a new creative-oriented role in business development.
At that time, Kiely described herself as a "heat-seeking missile" and her boss in new business, chief marketing officer Fran Kelly, said, "She's a grown-up with exceptional presentation skills."
Kiely's transfer also came with a promotion to partner, so her departure a few months later came as a surprise to some.
Arnold chairman and chief executive officer Ed Eskandarian said then that it was a "mutually agreeable decision." Sources said Kiely clashed with others on the staff. She has declined to discuss specifics.
Deutsch Boston will initially draw on the resources of New York, and Donny Deutsch will be involved "when and where necessary. These guys will call all the shots," he said of Kiely and Volk. They also have been given equity in the operation, he said.
Details such as clients, staff and office location are being worked out. Within weeks, the Boston office of Deutsch should be up and running, most likely in the city's financial district, with about 12 staffers.
"Our game plan is to be part of the community," Deutsch said. K