Recruits Saunders From West Coast to Direct Account Strategy
ATLANTA--Long Haymes Carr in Winston-Salem, N.C., has hired Neil Saunders as executive vice president and director of account planning.
Saunders was senior vice president and director of account planning at Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ Euro RSCG in San Francisco.
"When I was first contacted by the headhunter, I hadn't heard of [LHC]," Saunders said. "But after meeting [chief executive] Steve Zades, he seemed like the typical mover and shaker, with a real vision. It's a bigger agency . . . on the threshold of taking off and becoming a national player."
Citron has annual billings of around $205 million, while LHC began the year with $310 million. The West Coast agency enjoyed rapid growth during Saunders' more than three-year tenure, most recently doubling its size by adding CNet's $100 million account.
U.K. native Saunders played down his involvement in the CNet win, instead pointing to his efforts in Citron's landing assignments from Dreyfus, Powerbar, Perrier and Ore-Ida.
"He was one of the well-regarded planners in the San Francisco market, with other local agencies regularly trying to steal him away," said Citron chairman Tom Bedecarrƒ.
Saunders began his ad career at Grey in London, where he was elected to the board of directors. In 1993, he was recruited to help open BBDO's Los Angeles office, where he worked on the Apple Computers account and the Pioneer Car Stereo campaign that won top honors at Cannes.
"If you want a seasoned [planning] professional, somebody who's been doing it for 15 years, you limit yourself if you don't look internationally," Zades said. "The Brits . . . originated the the planning discipline and have been at it for a long time. You can never be strategic enough. . . and when you see a great talent like Neil in the marketplace, you've got to go after him."
Current planner Mary Jamis had previously notified LHC that she would be assuming part-time status. --with Joan Voight