BBDO South Finds Its New President, CEO At JWT

After considering candidates in New York and Chicago, BBDO South here recruited its new president and chief executive officer from neighbor shop J. Walter Thompson, a BBDO official confirmed.
Chris Hall, presently senior vice president, group account director and director of business development at JWT, will move three blocks to the helm of BBDO South. He begins his new position March 23.
Hall, 43, fills a post left vacant last fall when Larry Tolpin, ironically, departed to assume dual roles as JWT worldwide creative director and chief executive officer of JWT West in San Francisco. Since then, BBDO North America president Tom Carey has served as interim chief of the Atlanta office.
Carey told Adweek he held discussions with “several” individuals outside the local market before “finding absolutely the best available candidate right there in Atlanta.”
Hall’s new business track record at JWT was a major factor in Carey’s decision. During his 12-year tenure at JWT, Hall assisted in bringing aboard clients Entergy Corp., Maxfli Golf and the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, among others.
“JWT New York was very keen to move him up there to help them spearhead their [new business] efforts,” according to Carey.
Hall’s prime directive is to grow the agency. “[BBDO has] a great group of people that have already started that process,” said Hall. In the last few months, the shop picked up AGL Investments and Iberia Airlines, and is one of three contenders pursuing Shell Chemicals’ global account [Adweek, March 2]. Jeff Upshaw, recently promoted to executive vice president and general manager, will continue his duties in new client development.
When Tolpin left, BBDO South senior vice president and group creative director Ellen Curtis stepped in to guide creative output. Hall sees no reason to change her role: “I see great work coming out [of BBDO] . . . I’m not going over there to start replacing people.”