Grimaldi Fills Mullen’s Shoes

Jim Mullen has officially turned over control of his agency to Joe Grimaldi, relinquishing his role as chief executive officer to focus solely on developing parent Lowe Group’s North American operations.
The year-long transition in leadership–from Mullen to Grimaldi and chief creative officer Paul Silverman to executive creative director Edward Boches–speaks to the agency’s belief in “being smart and early in succession,” Grimaldi said.
Still, Grimaldi believes it would be “premature” to address the question of whom he and Boches will groom to succeed themselves.”We have players that will have a role in succession,” Grimaldi said, declining to name names.
Silverman said choosing successors this time around is more difficult because there is so much talent.
“I don’t think there’s any one or two individuals,” Silverman said. “There are several. We had less depth and strength when we were smaller.”
Silverman believes the next succession will occur gradually as the business grows. “The people who are the natural leaders will come forward,” he said.
Grimaldi, formerly chief operating officer, a post that will not be immediately filled, becomes chief executive officer. He also retains the title of president.
Jim Mullen, who founded the Wenham, Mass.-based agency 29 years ago, will maintain an office there while fulfilling his duties as vice chairman of Lowe, the Interpublic-owned agency that bought Mullen last spring.
Mullen could not be reached for comment last week.