AKA Elevates Stone to CD

A year after feeling he was too green for the job, but subsequently emboldened by his role in a major account win, Duncan Stone took on the creative director post at Austin Kelley Advertising.

Stone, 41, has been a copywriter at the Atlanta Interpublic Group shop for five years and was asked last spring to replace Mark Robinson as cd. He demurred, and the agency in August hired copywriter Al Jackson as cd. Jackson left after nine months.

“Duncan felt he wasn’t ready, but [later] when we pitched and won AmSouth [bank], he wrestled it to the ground,” said AKA svp, executive creative director Jim Spruell. “We always knew he had massive chops as a writer, but he hadn’t had a chance to prove himself in front of clients or as a leader in the agency. His work with AmSouth proved to us he’s got it.”

Stone will report to Spruell and oversee a nine-person creative staff and a five-member traffic team at the 71-staffer agency, which claimed $130 million in billings in 2002.

Prior to joining AKA in 1997, Stone worked at BBDO in Atlanta on the Omnicom agency’s HUD business. Before that, he sold display ads for a hotel directory. “I’d sit in a hotel room all day by myself, making cold calls,” he said. “I hated working alone.”

Stone quit another sales gig in 1992 and enrolled at Atlanta’s Portfolio Center. “All the things that I’d done before, the sales things and contact with different businesses, helped a lot,” he said. “I found that I have a wry sense of humor and a good sense of the absurd.”

Stone, who is the point person on the $18 million AmSouth business, will also oversee accounts such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Arvida and Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention. His experience with AmSouth convinced him he could handle management. “I really enjoyed the concepting and strategy for the pitch,” he said. —ALICIA GRISWOLD