Knape, Ingersoll Leave Larkin To Form K.C.-Backed Dallas Shop

By Glen Fest

DALLAS–After nearly five years under the umbrella of local agency Larkin, Meeder & Schweidel, both Susan Knape and Ted Ingersoll are ready to get wet again.

The principals of two LM&S operating units are teaming to create a full-service Dallas agency called Knape. The new shop will be owned by, but run independently of, Kansas City, Mo., agency Valentine Radford, which has been seeking a Dallas affiliation for a year, according to VR chairman Chuck Curtis.

The venture, slated to open June 1, will be initially operated with eight staffers that comprised the Knape Group and the Ingersoll Group units of LM&S.

‘We really want to be a superstar, national agency on a creative basis,’ said Susan Knape, 43, a 1995 Adweek Creative All-Star and former owner of a freestanding agency nearly done in by the early ’90s industry slump.

Ingersoll, 57, will be jumping back into the account service fray after several years in public relations, both with the LM&S unit and Richards/Ingersoll, a former Richards Group affiliate. Joining them in the executive suites (when office space is located) will be executive creative director Les Kerr, 40, and creative director Jim Starr, 46.

The desire to run an agency without worrying about the infrastructure attracted Knape, who once vowed never to head her own agency again, to the arrangement with VR, she said.

Agency president Carl Larkin said the services provided by the two outgoing units will be picked up by existing LM&S staffers. ‘As far as I’m concerned, we’re consolidating those operations into our operations,’ Larkin said.

Not included in the departure is a non-compete clause, giving Knape the freedom to pursue business against Larkin–including existing clients the Knape Group serves at the agency, according to Knape.

The affiliation with VR, which will provide accounting and media services for Knape, reunites Ingersoll with Chuck Curtis, his former employee and now chairman of the $137 million, 50-year-old agency. There are no plans for Knape to serve current VR clients.

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