Arnold Adds Executives For New Business, Integration

Arnold this week adds a pair of senior executives in an effort to strengthen its integrated services and new-business efforts.

Greg Johnson, 40, and Will Burns, 37, join the Havas agency’s headquarters, here, in new posts. Johnson is svp, director of Arnold One, a name the shop adopts today for its interactive and direct marketing operations in its Boston, New York and McLean, Va., offices. Burns has been named vp, group account director in new business. He was brought aboard to help coordinate pitches, a job that has been done mainly by Phil Reilly, evp, director of brand and business development, to whom Burns reports.

The new executives arrive as parent Havas dismantles Arnold’s worldwide network of about 25 agencies and recasts the shop as a creatively driven resource for clients in the U.S. and select markets overseas. The two are being asked to help a leaner, more focused organization sell integrated resources to existing and prospective clients.

In a broader sense, the hires are intended “to bring more business-building muscle” to Arnold, said agency president Fran Kelly.

Johnson fills a position Arnold has sought to establish for six months, Kelly said. His mission is twofold: to coordinate and integrate direct and interactive functions for clients such as Volkswagen, Royal Caribbean and Fidelity Investments, and to articulate that integration during pitches.

Previously, Arnold’s direct and interactive functions were largely autonomous and overseen by managers in the shop’s offices, who will now report to Johnson. He will lead more than 100 staffers and report to managing partner and operations director Karen Driscoll.

Johnson comes from Epoch Strategy, a small consultancy here that has been gradually winding down. He has held senior posts at Digitas in Boston and WPP Group’s RTC Relationship Marketing in Washington.

Johnson said his primary goal is to explain to clients how broad brand positioning and traditional creative solutions can also be adapted to “work on a one-to-one-level” offered by direct and interactive marketing.

Burns joins Arnold after a year as director of account services at Boathouse, Needham, Mass., where he had overseen clients that included Merrill Lynch. Before Boathouse, he spent three years at IPG’s Mullen, in Wenham, Mass., as a vp, account director. He has also held account management posts at Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

At Mullen, he helped coordinate its winning pitch in late 2001 and early 2002 for the Department of Defense’s armed-forces recruitment account; he also led Wieden’s successful bid in July 1999 for

“I love new business—the rush, the excitement,” said Burns.

Arnold’s new-business record has been sluggish. While the agency this year won Amtrak ($30 million) and Pergo ($15 million), and successfully defended the $50-60 million American Legacy Foundation anti-smoking business, it fell short in the final rounds of reviews for Pfizer’s Bextra and Zoloft, as well as in reviews for Nextel Communications and the American Heart Association. An estimated $250-300 million in business was up for grabs in those contests.

“If you’re No. 2 in these big pitches, it needs a tweak, not an overhaul,” Johnson said. “[They’re] on the 1-yard line and need to punch it into the end zone.”