TM Advertising, which has been shrinking for several years and is facing the imminent exit of its $165 million Subaru business, is counting on Square One founder Tom Hansen to play a key role in rebuilding.
The 48-year-old executive assumes the new role of chief marketing officer at the Irving, Texas, Interpublic Group agency. "Clients love this guy," said TM chairman and CCO Jim Ferguson, to whom Hansen reports. "He has the ability to really attract new business, and he's sharp as a whip."
Most recently, Hansen headed the Gigasphere Group, a Dallas-based broadband-content delivery service that he founded in 2002 after leaving Square One. At TM, Hansen will run the business-development and strategic-planning groups, but he said the job will involve "a little bit of everything."
"I see my job as helping the agency evolve into a thinking company that embraces new media and new ideas and new ways to get old jobs done," he said.
Hansen in the early 1990s initially worked with Ferguson as a copywriter, then as an account executive at Leo Burnett in Chicago. His accounts there included Hallmark Cards, but he also worked on McDonald's, where Ferguson made his creative mark.
Having been involved with Square One's launch in '95, Hansen said he's undaunted by the prospect of taking on the problems of an established agency. "Every place goes in cycles," he said. "You have a tremendous rise in business, and then you lose it. … I think it's part of a natural cycle."
Hansen helped build Square One to $180 million in billings and 120 employees, signing clients such as the Dallas Cowboys, Dr Pepper, Miller Brewing Co. and PF Chang's restaurants.
Ferguson declined to discuss any potential layoffs or the impact of the Subaru loss. "Right now, we're going to try to get as much work as possible before the end of the year," he said. "As is everyone else."