Finucane to Lead Fleet Post-Merger

Marketing Vet to Finalize New Entity’s Name, Agency Roster by Fall
BOSTON-Anne Finucane, who nearly 20 years ago made the transition from overseeing news programs at WBZ-TV to producing commercials for Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, last week was officially given the top marketing job at the entity being created by Fleet Financial Group’s proposed takeover of BankBoston.
Finucane was the odds-on favorite to land the job since Fleet announced its intention to acquire BankBoston eight weeks ago. Now it will be up to Finucane and the team she puts together (see story below) to determine the merged entity’s name, how it will be marketed and which ad agencies it will work with. She expects to have answers to most of those questions by fall, she said last week in a phone interview.
Finucane will report to Chad Gifford, president and chief operating officer, who will succeed Fleet chairman and CEO Terry Murray when he steps down on Dec. 31, 2001.
Industry sources estimate the overall marketing budget for the combined banks and their subsidiaries-including advertising, direct marketing and design chores-is on the order of $250 million.
Finucane, who declined to discuss budgets, acknowledged that a lead agency would be appointed, but she emphasized that no one shop can handle a consolidated account. A showdown between Boston’s Arnold Communications (which handles Fleet) and Hill, Holliday (which handles BankBoston) for corporate advertising appears to be inevitable.
“It’s fair to say there will be a lead agency and there will be other agencies involved given the magnitude of what we have in front of us,” Finucane said.
Finucane noted, however, that Fleet’s relationship with Arnold and other companies owned by Bethesda, Md.-based Snyder Communications is deeper than just advertising. Sister shop Blau Marketing Technologies in Chicago handles a large portion of Fleet’s direct marketing chores and, according to sources, that is unlikely to change. The Boston-based bank also works with Arnold’s public relations department and design shop Cipriani/Kremer. In addition, Boston-based Woolf & Associates, a sports and entertainment marketing firm partially owned by Arnold chairman Ed Eskandarian, recently orchestrated Fleet’s sponsorship of Major League Baseball.
Even so, Hill, Holliday got a leg up on its crosstown rival when it landed a research assignment that will help determine the bank’s new brand identity and its positioning in the marketplace. Under consideration, for instance, is whether the bank will operate in a holding company structure with so-called sub-brands operating beneath it, sources said.
Finucane’s counterparts at BankBoston-Karen Green and Ira Jackson-have both announced their intention to step down after the closing of the deal, expected late this year.
Jackson has not disclosed what his future plans are. Green, who joined Bank of Boston following its takeover of Baybanks, last week said she had some personal goals she wished to fulfill.
Named director of marketing in 1995, Green was eventually promoted to her current position, executive vice president of corporate marketing in charge of all external communications.
Meanwhile, it remains business as usual on the ad front. Hill, Holliday will within the next couple of weeks break a comprehensive print and broadcast campaign for BankBoston, while Arnold is at work on Fleet-related product advertising. ƒ