Hal Asher Exits A/G

Seven months after teaming his agency with Italia/Gal to form Asher/Gal & Partners, Hal Asher is stepping down from his post as chairman. Concurrent with the move, effective April 1, the agency is returning to the office space occupied by Italia/Gal prior to the merger.

Plans call for the shop to keep the Asher/Gal name, said president and CEO Ken Gal, who said the departure of the 65-year-old Asher was amicable. Gal also maintained that the seven-month marriage leaves him with an agency that is better positioned than either agency had been prior to the union.

“Now we have evolved to where I can take over and Hal can go into semi-retirement and act as a consultant,” said Gal. “A major reason I agreed to the partnership [in July] was that it enables me to work with some some key people—people I wish to work with for the rest of my career.”

Specifically, he pointed to two executives who started at the former Asher & Partners: Bruce Dundore and Leah Mitchell.

In addition, Asher’s ties to social-marketing campaigns led to Asher/Gal’s involvement in several government-sponsored anti-smoking efforts, which are widely viewed as the agency’s most prominent creative work.

Gal said forming a partnership with an agency that shared the same office building was a “funny coincidence.” He added that the decision to hold onto the office space on the 24th floor of 5900 Wilshire Blvd., even after moving in with Asher on the 31th floor of the same building, was not a strategic move.

“We tried to sublet at under market value, but we couldn’t,” Gal said. “That’s not unusual.”