Mike Fox joins Trone Advertising this week as executive vice president and director of account management, ending a 15-year tenure at Long Haymes Carr.
At Trone, Fox, 40, succeeds Natalie Perkins, who became president of the Greensboro, N.C., shop seven months ago.
Fox's departure from his role as senior vice president and co-director of client services at LHC, Winston-Salem, N.C., follows on the heels of that agency's hiring Peter Mitchell, who took over the client services department in October.
"I'm betting that Trone is a company worth buying into," said Fox. "At LHC, I saw us go from dead to agency of the year twice. I see a lot of the same things at Trone and think, 'Why not get into it now?' "
Fox, a part of LHC's winning effort in the Alabama Power review, has significant experience in banking, telecommunications and textiles.
"The more people I talked to—consultants, headhunters, clients—everyone kept saying Mike Fox is our man," said Perkins. "But the best people are never in the market. I started talking to him six months ago because a lot of the things I admire about [LHC], Mike had a role in developing."
Trone, under Perkins, is looking to become a regional powerhouse. The agency's immediate goals are to focus on new business and to examine how the shop packages itself.
"We do well with consultants and get into great pitches and the finals," Fox said. "I don't know why Trone hasn't won more business, but I'll find that out first."
Fox also will evaluate Trone's new business process, especially its approach to the banking and energy segments. He pointed out that banking expertise is key to agencies trying to move into the market created by utility deregulation.
"More than tobacco, banking gives agencies an understanding of regulated environments," he said. "This is an important experience to have when dealing with utilities."
Trone has expanded from amarketing consultancy into a full-service advertising agency with public relations, direct marketing and, most recently, interactive communications capabilities.
"My job is to grow our core competency," said Perkins. "I've hired Steve Dunkley to ratchet up the creative discipline. Mike is good at exceeding clients' expectations."