One attribute the newly minted CEO of Ammirati Puris Lintas in New York brings to the job is his familiar face. Jim Allman, who took over last week from Rick Hadala, is well-known and well-liked within APL. In that respect, he already has a leg up on his predecessor, who came from the coolly clinical consulting world, a far cry from personality-driven Madison Avenue.
When asked about the benefits of promotion from within, APL worldwide CEO Martin Puris said, "They know the agency's way, and we know them, which is probably more important."
Allman and Hadala are markedly different in temperament. "I don't think it's my personal style to be abrasive," said Allman. "We've got to get everybody back on track, which is getting beautifully executed work based on inspired thinking."
Colleagues describe Allman as warm and accessible versus the cold and steely Hadala. Allman brings more than familiarity to the table, however. "He is a great strategic thinker, and he's great with people," said Puris.
Allman also offers well-cultivated relationships with key APL clients Unilever and Johnson & Johnson, although he lacks experience running an office of this size. Most recently, as multinational client director on Unilever, he was based in London.
Prior to that, he ran the J&J business from New York.
Allman joined APL in 1994 to overhaul the Milan office, then returned to New York to work on J&J and oversee Latin American operations. He moved to the Unilever account in 1997 and revamped the shop's staffing structure along category lines to match the client's setup.
His wide-ranging experience within the network made Allman an attractive candidate for the job. In fact, he was Puris' own favorite before tapping Hadala last year to replace Duncan Pollack, but Puris did not feel he could take Allman off Unilever at the time. "The job probably would have been his originally, but we had just put him in charge of Unilever," Puris said.
Allman inherits a team installed by Hadala, but doesn't plan any near-term changes. "I've got to get to know them; that's my first priority."
Hadala could not be reached for comment. --Justin Dini