Pollak Levitt Chaiet here and Archer/Malmo in Memphis, Tenn., coincidently have recruited high-ranking executives from Jackson, Miss.-based The Ramey Agency.
Rob Austin left his job as Ramey's president and chief operating officer to assume the same dual role at Atlanta's Pollak Levitt Chaiet (PLC).
Separately, Chris Ray moved from Ramey's Memphis office, where he was vice president and managing officer, to become general manager of Archer/Malmo's ad division.
Unprecedented growth and a personnel shift prompted PLC to recruit Austin. The agency's gross income shot up 80 percent in 1997 from new and existing clients, which was "too much for me to handle alone," said PLC chairman and chief executive officer Jim Pollak.
PLC's former president, Bruce Levitt, is now president of the shop's growing PLC Interactive division.
As a result, Pollak contacted one-time colleague and longtime friend Austin, 52, who worked with all three PLC partners some 20 years ago at J. Walter Thompson here. Since then, Austin was at JWT in New York and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.
This spring PLC will move into new office space. At that time, Pollak said the $29 million agency will change its name to reflect the contributions of creative director Andre Nel and the departure of Al Chaiet, PLC vice chairman and director of media services, who announced his partial retirement.
Ward Archer, president and chief executive officer of Memphis' largest agency, spent a year looking for someone to run his shop's advertising arm, one of six A/M divisions. He found in 31-year-old Ray an account person who "values and appreciates good creative."
One of Ray's short term goals is to start recruiting both account and creative staffers from out of market.
Despite the defections, Tommy Ramey seemed unruffled last week. "I've gone back to running my agency," he said. He will add the title of president to his chairman and chief executive chores. Ray's duties in Memphis will be assumed by account supervisor Tera Taylor.