CP+B Names Managing Director

Mark Simmons, a veteran London adman who was once a senior marketing executive at Coca-Cola’s Atlanta headquarters, has joined Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s office here as managing director.

Simmons, 39, shares management responsibilities with creative director Sally Hogs head, 33, who relinquished the managing director title after his arrival.

“I feel this is a big thing waiting to happen,” Simmons said of the L.A. office. “We offer the speed and flexibility of a small shop but the backing and expertise of a major shop,” he said, referring to CP+B’s headquarters in Miami.

Already Simmons is credited with helping the 1-year-old office in Venice Beach win its second notable account. The shop, which handles creative for cable network the Fine Living Channel, was hired last week by the 90-unit Italian restaurant chain Buca di Beppo.

The $4 million creative and media win came after a review that included Butler, Shine & Stern in Sausalito, Calif., Grant, Scott & Hurley in San Francisco and incumbent Kerker in Minneapolis, sources said.

Simmons joined CP+B in August, but the shop waited until it had an account win to trumpet his arrival. Since opening the West Coast operation the day before the 9/11 tragedy, the shop has been trying to crack the market in a tough economic climate.

Simmons, who first came in contact with CP+B when he was a senior global ad manager for Coke’s Sprite brand from 1997-99, demonstrated his hands-on approach by busing tables recently at a Buca di Beppo restaurant in the L.A. area. “If nothing else, I wanted to show I can take orders,” he said. “It was a great way to get a true, close-up look at the operation.”

With the exception of his position at Coke, Simmons has spent his career on the agency side in the U.K. He started at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, where he worked for six years on accounts such as Volvo before moving to Lowe Howard-Spink. After leaving Coke, he returned to London and opened a shop called Anti-Corp.

While at Coke, Simmons was impressed by CP+B’s “Truth” anti-smoking work and hired the shop for a project involving the Fresca brand.

Simmons said L.A. appeals to him because “it is suited to pop-culture brands.” And he expects to enjoy himself more than he did during his previous tour of duty in the U.S. “I lived in Georgia, and I know what not-open-mindedness is,” he said. “L.A. is very open-minded.”