BBDO’s Firestone Steps Down

Health Issues Lead President/CEO to Resign
CHICAGO–Executives at BBDO Minneapolis have begun a search for a new president and chief executive to replace Jon Firestone, who is leaving the shop for health reasons.
Firestone, 54, last week announced his resignation to clients and agency staffers. He made the decision last month after doctors advised him to cut down on his workload.
“There’s no way to back off in this business,” he said. “You either do it or you don’t.”
The 30-year BBDO veteran began his career at Kenyon & Echardt in New York and Detroit before joining BBDO’s New York office in 1969. He was named president of the Minneapolis office in 1987.
Key among the shop’s ups and downs during his 12-year tenure were the win of Hormel’s consolidated $45 million account in 1996 and the loss of its portion of the AirTouch cellular business last year. The agency billed $106 million in 1998.
“I’m proud of the agency I’ve built,” he said. “It’s a very strong agency.”
BBDO expects to have a successor named in 30-60 days, Firestone said, adding it is “not likely” he or she will come from within the shop.
The shop has contacted candidates within and outside the BBDO and Omnicom networks, both in Minneapolis and beyond, Firestone said.
Firestone said he will consult at BBDO through the end of the year.