Howard Merrell Names Sherman President

ATLANTA Howard Merrell & Partners said it has named Howard Sherman president and chief operative officer.

The appointment follows a nine-month search and paves the way for agency partner Mac Merrell’s eventual retirement within the next year. With the installation of Sherman, Merrell, 61, becomes chairman and CEO of the Raleigh, N.C., shop, a unit of the Interpublic Group.

“Howard brings to us a unique combination of qualities including management of a high-profile creative agency, brand marketing savvy and a belief system that fits this culture,” said Merrell.

Sherman most recently was a senior executive at Shepardson, Stern + Kaminsky, where he worked in the joint venture between the New York shop and Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles. He was also president at Angotti, Thomas, Hedge in New York, where his account experience included Saab, Foster’s Beer, Fuji Film and Hardee’s.

Separately, the agency recently secured the Cyberlux account, becoming the Pinehurst, N.C., startup’s first advertising agency.

According to Don Evans, CEO of Cyberlux, which manufactures circuitry and lighting elements, HM&P was chosen for its blend of business strategy and creative. “They showed an unusual ability to understand our competitive landscape and business,” Evans said.

The assignment includes advertising, media planning, market research and strategy development. Sherman said the agency’s business model, which involves working with clients while their products are still in the development stage, works well for the fledgling company.

According to Ron Cruickshank, partner and business director on the account, the client’s product was not getting the market reception it was expecting. “We started looking beyond consumer groups to other applications such as the marine, home security and outdoor recreation industries and then prioritized the segments by their business potential,” he said. “They have a core technology. They think of a thousand products, but the real issue is figuring out where the sweet spot is for four or five products.”

Advertising is expected to break in third quarter.