NEW YORK - Jane Newman, co-founder of Merkley Newman Harty here, is leaving her post as director of strategic planning, effective April 1. Newman, who turned 50 last month, will relinquish her managerial duties at the 5-year-old shop to serve as a consultant on "special strategic planning projects."
"Jane agreed to give us her five best years," said Parry Merkley, MNH president. "She's earned the right to do this. Now she can work on certain projects where Jane does what she does best."
Stepping down from overseeing the eight-member planning department will allow Newman to focus on "solid, difficult client problems," she said. It also means more flexible work hours. "I want a sequential life," said Newman. "I want to have my tea in the morning, put my makeup on and take a cab to work one after the other instead of all at once."
Newman began her career at Boase Massimi Pollitt in London more than 25 years ago. A pioneer of account planning, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1978 and worked at Needham Harper Steers and Ammirati & Puris. In 1982, she joined Chiat/Day, where she held such posts as director of client services, president of the New York office and lastly vice chairman.
Regarding Newman's replacement, Merkley said, "We're looking for the right spirit and complement to the partners." He added that "technicalities," such as the job's specific title, will be contingent upon the candidate selected.
Merkley said the recently bolstered management team will fill any void left by Newman's exit from day-to-day operations. Over the last year, the three founding partners, which include Steve Harty, have brought in executive creative director Marty Cooke, media director Kayne Lanahan and director of business development Steve Bowen. Group account director Anthony Brescia joined two years ago to run the BellSouth account.
Since opening, Omnicom-owned MNH has grown to $160 million from clients such as ABC News, M&M/Mars and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.