ATLANTA WestWayne said it has hired Richard B. Ward as president and chief executive officer after a seven-month search.
Ward, 50, is moving from San Francisco to Atlanta to lead the independent shop. He will report to Ben West, chairman and founding partner.
Ward replaces Jeff Johnson, who left the shop in August, and will lead a new senior management team Johnson has assembled over the past two years. Ward is tasked with refining the agency's corporate brand and extending it beyond the Southeast.
"In Richard, we've found a leader who will not just be the chief executive officer," West said. "More importantly, he will be the chief visionary, chief strategist, chief builder and chief motivator."
Most recently, Ward was a consultant to several online companies, including eBay. Before that, he supervised business development in the apparel, financial services and beverages categories for America Online. He also has held posts at Infoseek, where he helped develop advertising for the search engine company and was part of the team that launched Infoseek Japan.
"WestWayne is uniquely positioned to adapt to the evolving advertising landscape, given its independence," Ward said. "The agency has a pedigree for handling market change and there are huge opportunities for them to develop strong digital capabilities."
Ward began his advertising career as an assistant media planner at Foote Cone & Belding in San Francisco. During his 18 years at the Interpublic Group shop, he was named, at age 36, managing director of the San Francisco office. He worked on accounts there including Levi Strauss, California Raisins, Clorox, Coors and Janus Mutual Funds.
He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he founded an executive-in-residence program in the school's journalism department. Ward also heads the nonprofit Ward Family Foundation.