Marketing Drive’s Harris Heads to FCB

LOS ANGELES Interpublic Group’s Foote, Cone & Belding has named a new president for its Southern California office.

Michael Harris, who has been president of IPG’s Marketing Drive Worldwide in Boston, will take over the presidency of FCB Southern California from Jim Harrington. Dean Buresh, CEO of Marketing Drive, will assume control of the Boston agency until a replacement for Harris is named.

Harrington, who has served as president of the office in Irvine, Calif., has been reassigned to work on special projects for FCB Worldwide CEO Brendan Ryan and Gene Bartley, COO of FCB North America, said FCB representative Bill Haney. Harrington’s title could not immediately be ascertained and Haney declined to comment on what those projects would entail.

Harris, 40, will report to Bartley.

“We’re always looking at the management of our operations and trying to deploy people as best we can,” said Haney. “We need good experience from a known quantity in that office. Michael has done a super job since he founded the Boston agency three years ago and he has the right combination of skills and energy.”

Haney denied that the changes were due to dissatisfaction with Harrington’s performance.

Harrington, 42, joined FCB’s Southern California office, then known as Bozell Worldwide in Costa Mesa, Calif., in January 1996 as general manager. In March 2000, he was promoted to his current role as president. He has worked with FCB and Bozell for 16 years.

“We felt the time was right to move me back to New York to work with Gene and Brendan,” Harrington said. “It’s a great opportunity to get back into corporate headquarters and have a contribution from the macro sense.”

Harrington said he will remain in Irvine to transition Harris, but would eventually move back to New York.

FCB Southern California employs 137 people and had estimated 2002 billings of $300 million, down 10 percent from the previous year.