Bates Seeks Fearless Leader

Are you a “fearless, thrill-seeking executive who relishes the adrenaline and energy that derive from overcoming significant challenges?”

If you fit this description, Bates has a job for you.

After the exit in May of North American CEO Bill Whitehead, following the loss of the network’s biggest account—Hyundai—Bates is seeking a replacement, described in a document obtained by Adweek.

The paper, which is being circu lated by search firm Korn/Ferry International, details the position specifications and makes no bones about the agency’s recent troubles.

Despite “many assets and a long record of accomplishment, Bates Worldwide has clearly fallen on difficult times,” the document states. “The loss of several significant client relationships, the lack of appropriate leadership during this recessionary period, and the absence of a clearly articulated vision for what Bates wants to be, have all taken their toll in recent years.”

In addition to possessing “tremendous chutzpah,” the successful candidate must also be a catalyst to the agency’s “rejuvenation and cultural rebirth,” as well as its “most prominent evangelist.”

Whitehead, 56, left after 31 years at Bates, and David Hearn, 46, who joined in March as chairman and CEO of Bates Worldwide, assumed his duties. Last week, Hearn characterized the search as “business as usual,” saying the agency frequently seeks qualified and “interesting” candidates. And he acknowledged the need to be honest with those potential candidates. “We’ve certainly had our excitements,” he said, noting there would be no point “pretending” otherwise.

Other sought-after qualities listed include “a personality and ambition which is somehow larger than life.” In another passage, the ideal candidate is described as one who has “high integrity, and no time for gossip, complaint or fear.”

The Cordiant-owned shop has U.S. offices in New York, Chi cago, Houston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Irvine, Calif., and reported 2001 rev enue of $186 million.

During the past 18 months, the network has lost upwards of $400 million in billings, including Hyundai’s corporate and dealer accounts ($330 million combined), CVS ($35 million), Carter-Wallace ($30 million), Dept. of Defense Joint Recruitment ($15-20 million) and Sauza ($15 million).