Foote, Cone & Belding has hired Rich Russo, formerly of Tierney & Partners, as its first worldwide creative director on the AT&T consumer business. He will be based in New York.
Russo, who will work directly with agency creative director Ted Littleford, will oversee a team of 12 creative staffers, although FCB said those ranks will grow. He assumes the responsibilities of Steve Baer, who joined the AT&T team in June as deputy creative director. Baer will oversee other FCB accounts.
The shift comes as AT&T’s shops are getting acquainted with Eugene Lockhart, who was hired as the client’s new chief marketing officer in January. Lockhart spurred media reviews in two of his previous jobs, at MasterCard and Bank of America. Teams from FCB and fellow roster agency Young & Rubicam met with Lockhart for the first time last week, sources said.
For the past three years, Russo was chief creative officer at Philadelphia-based Tierney, a fellow True North Communications shop whose clients include Bell Atlantic. Prior to that, Russo was creative director on Hardee’s at Deutsch before the shop lost the business in 1995.
Russo was also at Ogilvy & Mather and Della Femina McNamee in Los Angeles, where he helped craft the “Joe Isuzu” campaign.
“He’s dealt with some pretty high-intensity accounts,” said Littleford, describing why Russo was suited for the job.
AT&T “is the kind of job you are in the business to take,” said Russo. “You get to affect people’s lives and the way they communicate.”