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Nicholson Jumps to Publicis

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CHICAGO -- Publicis in Mid America's new creative chief said he takes a hand-off approach in a campaign's early stages, but isn't afraid to jump in when it's time to execute.

"I allow [creatives] to pursue their ideas, and I make sure they come full circle," said Peter Nicholson, who joins the Chicago shop on May 1 from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. "I try to make them feel that their idea is still theirs and I didn't get in the way of it."

Nicholson, 34, is perhaps best known for his work on TiVo and Adidas during stints at Goodby and Leagas Delaney, respectively. During his three years as a group cd at Goodby, he oversaw 10 creatives. At Publicis, he'll report to CEO Barry Krause and work with senior cds Richard Coad, Joel Machak and Jim Newcombe and about 30 staffers.

Publicis in Chicago has lacked a top creative since Ted Barton left in August 2000 to become president and general manager of the Dallas office. Krause met with several candidates, including Leap Partnership founding partner George Gier, sources said.

Krause said he "wanted someone who understands the business. I didn't want some wacky creative guy."

An art director, Nicholson was part of a team whose work for Adidas' sponsorship of the New York Yankees won a Cannes Gold Lion in 1997.

His partner at Goodby, senior writer Chris Ford, described Nicholson's management style as "employee driven," and said he made ads that employed "smart humor and honest things [that] ring true."

Krause said he plans to add to his shop's senior management in strategic planning and business development during the next several weeks.