Keiler Preps a Second Generation: Top Agency Executives Given Equity, Form Board to Manage Shop

BOSTON-Calling it a “symbolic step,” Dick Keiler named five vice presidents to the board of directors of Keiler & Co. Keiler, chairman of the 24-year-old Farmington, Conn., agency, has no immediate plan to retire or sell his stake in the shop, he said last week. Even so, he acknowledged that the organizational changes are intended to prepare for the day when he is no longer involved.
“There’s been an awful lot of chitchat that I have sold the agency. Not true,” Keiler said. “What we’re putting in place now is a group who will, over time, own and run the agency. For the past 24 years, there was a sense that ultimately the general management of the firm was mine. This move signals that this is not the case. It’s very much a milestone in the agency’s history.”
Mel Maffei, Mike Scricco, Bill Smith, Lynn Taylor and Don Wilson were all promoted to vice president, Keiler said. The five were also given an undisclosed amount of equity in the $50 million agency.
Further additions to the board are “likely” to occur during the next several months, Keiler said, although equity in the shop will not be guaranteed to those members.
Maffei, who joined the agency in 1979, and Scricco, a 16-year veteran, were most recently co-directors of the agency’s design group.
As part of the new regime, Maffei and Scricco will head the agency’s creative services, which now includes the advertising, design, new media and print and broadcast production departments. These areas had been separate.
David Haskell, creative director of the advertising group for the past seven years, left the agency last week and will join Bronner Slosberg Humphrey in Boston, Keiler said. Haskell’s replacement has not yet been named.
Additionally, James Pettus, formerly head of the new media department, will become creative director for the agency’s design group.
“Mel and Mike’s moving up has nothing to do with Haskell’s inability,” Wilson said. “What we want is the same management savvy to head up the whole creative product. We’re looking to take the magic and spread it across other areas.”