Ayres to Join Hill, Holliday

TBWA Worldwide Executive Will Lead New-Business Efforts
BOSTON–Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has hired Ruth Ayres as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. She will lead new-business development at the Boston shop, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Cos.
Ayres for the past year has helmed global business development at TBWA Worldwide in New York as global marketing director. Ayres joins Hill, Holliday July 1 and will report to agency chief executive Jack Connors. She plans to split time between Boston and New York.
Neither Ayres nor Hill, Holliday co-president June Blocklin would say if Ayres has been given equity.
TBWA executives did not return calls seeking comment. Agency executives Brent Hodgins and Tim Nicholls recently were tapped by TBWA to head marketing and global new business, respectively [Adweek, May 29].
“At first, I told them I wasn’t interested,” Ayres said of her decision to join Hill, Holliday. “I had no idea how big they were or how much they had done in the past few years.” Given her own misconceptions about the shop, her first job will be “to relaunch the [agency] brand,” she said. Letting prospective clients and review consultants know about Hill, Holliday’s size (some $1.2 billion in overall billings) and wealth of integrated services offerings will be top priorities, she said.
Rather than focus on particular niches to mine for new business, Ayres intends to sell clients on the depth of the agency’s integrated offering. Establishing multiple relationships with clients and providing multiple services will be stressed, she said.
Hill, Holliday plans to target “any company that puts the Internet at the core of what they do,” said Blocklin. Automotive and healthcare concerns, as well as Internet infrastructure firms such as software providers, top the list, Blocklin said.
Ayres replaces Brian Carty, who departed Hill, Holliday two weeks ago to become chief executive of Wheelhouse Corp., an Internet startup in Burlington, Mass.
Ayres helped build up new-business capabilities at TBWA and ensured that far-flung offices worked efficiently on their own and in combination. During her time at the agency, various offices won assignments from the International Olympic Committee, Fila, Martell, Homestore.com, Circuit City and others. Prior to TBWA, Ayres spent two years at N.W. Ayer & Partners in New York as an executive vice president and marketing director. Earlier, she served
14 years at DDB Needham and its precursor agencies. K