FCB’s Thompson, Harries Split Global, Local Creative Roles

CHICAGO-Jonathan Harries is being elevated to executive creative director of Foote, Cone & Belding’s office here as Geoff Thompson focuses solely on his role as FCB worldwide creative director.
Harries joined FCB as deputy executive creative director in August 1996 to oversee the office’s work with Thompson, who had added the worldwide responsibilities four months earlier.
Harries has concentrated on managing the agency’s work for its beverage clients, which include Coors Brewing, Gatorade and Cadbury Beverages.
Thompson said his goal upon moving from FCB’s San Francisco office in 1995 was to “get the whole body of [creative] work up to standard” in Chicago. “Not just the highlight reel, but the work that made you cringe a little,” he said. “We felt we had to get the whole department to feel it had a stake in what we’re doing and to elevate the whole body.”
Thompson said he feels the office’s work has “made a significant jump in quality” in the past year, and he credited Harries’ work with the creative groups on Coors and Gatorade with helping to raise the bar for the whole agency.
As Harries has established himself as the creative department’s leader, Thompson said he has concentrated his own attention on global clients and creative. Three of FCB’s seven global clients-Cadbury, Kimberly-Clark and S.C. Johnson & Son-are directed out of the Chicago office, and several other clients are expanding overseas, Thompson said. His role has been and will continue to be to coordinate sharing of creative strategies among offices, as well as work with network offices on new business.
If the Chicago office’s creative department changes under Harries’ direction, it will be due more to personal management style than structural alterations, he said. Harries’ business card identifies him as a copywriter as well as a deputy executive creative director, and he said he intends to remain involved in creating ads while fostering collaboration.
“I hope things do change,” said Thompson. “We feel we’ve found a leader, not a custodian.”