From GSD&M To Publicis

Leaving GSD&M for the second time in just over a decade was not a decision Klaudia Flanigin made lightly. But the offer to head a new GlaxoSmithKline account at Publicis in Mid-America as svp, group account director was one she says she did not want to pass up.

“It was very nice to be able to go back to a company I already knew,” said Flanigin, who began her career at the agency when it was known as Bloom.

In her new job (which she landed early this month), Flanigin will manage the direct-to-consumer account for GSK’s experimental vaccine Cervarix, which has been shown to prevent two forms of the virus that cause most cases of cervical cancer. The drug is expected to come on the market in 2006, competing with Merck’s Gardasil.

But the new product wasn’t the only thing that drew Flanigin back to Publicis. She said the agency itself is undergoing a transformation that she finds appealing. “The executive team is shaping a vision for the Dallas office that will bring in new business and a new perspective,” she said.

At Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, Flanigin was account director in charge of Wal-Mart and was preparing to move to the agency’s Frito-Lay business when the Publicis offer came.

Flanigin, 40, began work at Bloom after graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in psychology, working on accounts such as Nestlé and NFL properties.

She stayed for seven years before moving to GSD&M to work on the Wal-Mart account. In 1999, she moved to Mullen in Wenham, Mass., as a vice president and account director working on and other accounts. Two years later, GSD&M convinced her to return as a a new business strategist and as a vice president, account director on Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

Mark Bateman, president and general manager at Publicis in Mid-America, said he had tried on previous occasions to lure Flanigin back to the shop.

“I’ve been saying pretty constantly, ‘Hey, Klaudia, are you ready to come back?'” Bateman said.