Rich Edler resigned his post as evp/gm at Foote, Cone & Belding/L.A. last week, capping more than a year of management changes and new business frustration at the shop. Stepping into Edler's post today is Joel Hochberg, an ad veteran who last served as president of domestic theatrical marketing at 20th Century Fox.
Hochberg and executive cd Neal Sellman, who transferred from the agency's S.F. office in May, have their work cut out for them as FCB finds itself at an impasse in terms of growth.
Edler admitted that he left with several goals unmet. 'I wanted this office to just explode,' he said. 'It's stable, but we have not achieved the growth I wanted. But I've given it all I have, and I hope (Hochberg will lead the shop to more business).'
Edler's stewardship featured more than 80% staff turnover at the agency, which employs about 120, including the 1991 departure of cd Larry Kopold. Kopold moved to FCB/Santa Ana, Calif., to work on Mazda, leaving a gap in the L.A. shop's creative lineup that wasn't filled until Sellman's hire.
FCB/L.A. currently has about $100 million in billings from clients ranging from Mattel and MGM to Sunkist. But the shop has seen several clients - including a $9-12-million account with MCA/Universal Studios - slip away in recent years.
Last month, FCB/West president and coo Jack Balousek confirmed that he was looking for a possible merger partner for FCB in L.A., based in part, he said, on 'efficiency' issues.
In Hochberg, FCB might hope to regain some clout in the entertainment industry. His appointment comes at a crucial time in the agency's relationship with MGM, which is under new management and just appointed former Miramax marketing chief Jerry Rich to its top marketing slot last week.
We're gaining someone with a proven track record in building an agency,' said Balousek in announcing Hochberg's hire.
Edler, 49, resigned to pursue 'several business ventures,' including a post as West Coast affiliate for R.N. Gold, a Westport, Conn.-based marketing consulting firm. Edler said he plans to devote more time to two books he has been working on, and will join wife Kitty in volunteer work for the Los Angeles chapter of Compassionate Friends.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)