Ex-Sotheby’s Exec Makes Bid For PR

After more than 20 years at J. Walter Thompson and Ammirati Puris Lintas, Jim Allman last week credited his most recent post, at the auction house Sotheby’s, with preparing him for his new job as president of DeVries Public Relations.

“[That] really thrust me into the world of nontraditional media,” said the 53-year-old Chicago native, formerly evp of worldwide marketing for Sotheby’s Holdings. “There was a lot of PR, events and a lot of one-to-one marketing.”

At Interpublic Group’s DeVries in New York, Allman will oversee 100 staffers and report to chairman and CEO Madeline de Vries. He replaces Ildy Herczeg, who moved to Denver in September after 15 years with the shop, which claims $20 million in annual revenue from clients such as Procter & Gamble, Old Navy and Tupperware.

“We wanted someone who could understand the relationship of all marketing, not just public relations,” de Vries said. “The fact that Jim comes out of advertising was exactly what we were looking for. We wanted a lot of newness in a leader.”

Allman was at Sotheby’s for three years but “realized I’m a marketing-services guy. I missed the agency world.” Before Sotheby’s, he spent seven years at APL, including a stint as chairman and CEO in New York. From 1978-92, he was with various offices of WPP’s JWT, last serving as worldwide director of the Unilever foods and personal products business.

Allman, an avid traveler who spent last summer in India as a volunteer for the Mother Teresa Foundation, praised DeVries’ “fun” atmosphere. “There’s energy here that you used to find in advertising agencies,” he said.