Hill, Holliday Adds New-Business Firepower

NEW YORK Mired in a new-business slump, Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has hired Ann Billock, an executive vice president at consultancy Roth Associates, as its first chief marketing officer, sources said.

Billock, who managed advertising account reviews for New York-based Roth, is expected to start at Hill, Holliday during the second week of July, sources said.

Boston-based Hill, Holliday has also tapped Greg Davis, director of business development at Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, for the new post of executive vice president, chief development officer, sources said.

Both will report to Mike Sheehan, president and CEO of Hill, Holliday.

Billock and Davis, as well as Sheehan and other Hill, Holliday officials, could not be reached for comment.

Roth principal Richard Roth would only confirm that Billock is leaving and that he is considering several candidates for the post. Roth said, “I think it’s a compliment that we train people that other people want.” Ken Robinson, a vice president at Roth Associates, last month joined Interpublic Group’s Avrett Free Ginsberg in the role of vp, business development. (Robinson has been replaced at Roth by former D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles new-business executive Jed Friedman in the role of consultant.)

Hill, Holliday also recently added Brent Hodgins as senior vice president, director of marketing, a new post. Hodgins, who previously worked at Wieden + Kennedy in New York, joined in May. He splits his time between Hill, Holliday’s Boston headquarters and its office in New York.

Hodgins will report to Billock, sources said.

Hill, Holliday in the past year has come up short in numerous high-profile reviews, including pitches for AOL Broadband, Jergens, New York Toyota Dealers, Six Flags, Tylenol, Welch’s and XM Satellite Radio.

Hill, Holliday’s most recent win came in May, when it won media chores on the estimated $10 million Baskin-Robbins account.

That poor performance, coupled with the expected departure of some or most of the $45 million FleetBoston account following its acquisition by Bank of America, led Hill, Holliday to trim at least 20 employees (about 3-4 percent of its total staff) so far this year, sources said.

Separately, Hill, Holliday continues to seach for a new creative leader to succeed chief creative officer and evp Marty Donohue, sources said [Adweek Online, May 12]. Though he remains with the agency, Donohue has stepped aside as leader of the Boston office’s 50-person creative department, sources said.

—Adweek staff report