Herstek Gets Back in The Agency Saddle

Not long after the sale of onetime Boston hot shop Houston Herstek Favat to Havas’ Arnold in January 1998, Rich Herstek moved to Paris to write, where, he said, he “gained some perspective.” Six years later, the 49-year-old Cleveland native has returned to the agency fold, this time to serve as co-creative director at Partners+Simons with president Tom Simons.

A copywriter by trade, Herstek, who joined the Boston independent last week, most recently freelanced for various shops and wrote for theater and film. He said he got back into advertising full time “because an opportunity came up at a place I felt comfortable.”

“Our different [creative] approaches complement each other well,” Simons said. “[Herstek] comes straight at a creative challenge. I tend to circle it a little bit.”

Herstek oversees a 15-person creative unit at Partners+Simons, which claims $95 million in billings and 55 staffers, and will work on accounts such as Sun Life Financial and HP Hood. The post had been vacant since Bob Minihan left in December to join independent ISM in Boston as ecd.

Throughout most of the 1990s, Herstek was a principal at Houston Herstek Favat, which at its peak in 1994 claimed $200 million in billings and clients that included Converse and Midas. He is best known for Converse’s “Grandmama” spots with former NBA star Larry Johnson.

“He’s like a piece of gold,” said former Houston Herstek Favat partner Pete Favat, now managing partner and gcd at Arnold. “Rich always takes things to a much higher level.”