Connors Taps Sheehan

The succession question at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos became clearer last week when Mike Sheehan was named president of U.S. operations, a new post.

The move appears to cement his standing as the likely successor to Jack Connors when the 59-year-old CEO steps down from the Interpublic Group shop he co-founded nearly 34 years ago.

“I wanted to make it clear who I was selecting as my successor,” Connors said of the appointment. “This is the beginning of the next generation at Hill, Holliday … [a] handoff of authority.”

Connors said he has no current plans to retire.

Sheehan, 41, returned to Hill, Holliday in mid-2000 after nine months at DDB, Chicago. He moves up from president and executive creative director of the flagship Boston office and will oversee all Hill, Holliday outposts. The move frees Connors to focus on the 700-person organization’s long-term growth.

The agency is launching a search for a new Boston ecd. The post will likely be filled from within, according to sources.

Sheehan first worked at Hill, Holliday from 1994-99 and held senior creative positions.

He is succeeded as Boston president by Karen Kaplan, 41, who continues to run key accounts at FleetBoston Financial and John Hancock Financial Services.

Kap lan previously was evp, managing director. She has been at the shop since 1982.