Little Makes a Big Move to L.A.

After years of globe-trotting for Lowe Lintas & Partners, account planner Simon Little has landed at the Los Angeles office of fellow Interpublic Group agency McCann-Erickson.

Little, 45, was recently named executive vice president, director of account planning at McCann. He will be charged with invigorating the agency’s existing accounts and helping to cultivate new ones.

“It takes a lot of drive, salesmanship and skill to get agency people, clients and consumers to go where you want to go,” said Ian McGregor, general manager of McCann’s L.A. office. “Simon has a terrific grounding in that area.”

Little began his new assignment in late June. He replaced former account planning director Cathy Clift, who left TBWA\Chiat\Day in 1996 to spearhead McCann’s formation of an account planning group on the West Coast.

“As a planner, if you do your due diligence, you can connect with consumers. Part of my role is to make sure we have smarter and better strategies for them,” Little said. “But I also want to help the L.A. office grow and bring in new clients,” he added.

McGregor said Little brings to the agency “keen insight” and passion for consumer behavior—traits he believes will also energize the four-member account planning department.

Including Little, five candidates applied for the position from within the Interpublic network, according to McGregor. Little’s international experience with Lowe, including time spent in locales as varied as Warsaw, Poland, and Latin America, distinguished him during the interviewing process.

“Planners need to be people who are interested in life, different cultures,” McGregor suggested. “That’s the reason Chiat and Goodby, agencies like that, have embraced planning: because it gives you an edge.”

Little, who hails from the U.K. originally, admitted his experience living abroad has helped him hone his skills.

McCann’s L.A. office handles such accounts as Nestlé, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Bally Total Fitness. The agency claims more than $300 million in billings.