McCann Gets New Chief: Former Bozell Exec Takes Helm in S.F.

After 20 years under the direction of the same chief, McCann-Erickson/San Francisco has named a new executive vice president/general manager to take the helm of its San Francisco office.
Ronald J. Benza, 40, will assume his post July 20, replacing Jack Tormey, whose planned retirement originated the search for a new gm about a year ago. Tormey, 63, who joined McCann in 1964, will stay on as executive vp/area director for an undetermined time to help in the transition.
Benza, who will oversee a list of clients including Del Monte Foods, Wells Fargo Bank and Safeway for the $146-million agency, will not assume Tormey’s responsibilities as head of all McCann’s Western offices. When Tormey does fully retire, the heads of the other Western offices, who had been reporting to him, will report to John Fitzgerald, vice chairman of McCann-Erickson North America.
Benza was most recently general manager of Bozell/Minneapolis.
The job change reunites Benza with his old boss John Fitzgerald, who hired the then-23-year-old Benza when the two worked at Backer Spielvogel Bates in New York.
Benza called Fitzgerald when he learned the job was available. ‘I don’t think John realized I had management experience,’ said Benza. After he interviewed, though, ‘it all happened very quickly.’
Tormey said the biggest challenge his successor will face will be to build the business. ‘To grow an agency in San Francisco that is part of a network with offices in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Diego is a tough one,’ said Tormey. ‘A big issue everyone is facing today in San Francisco is growth and how do you go about that.’
Benza joined Bozell/New York in 1983. There, he helped build the agency’s Nabisco business from $3 million to $30 million. In addition to Nabisco, he has served as group director on such accounts as The New York Times, the United States Air Force and Revlon. In 1988, he was sent to Minneapolis to gain management experience. That office currently has billings of $55 million. After his stint at Backer’s N.Y. office, Benza was assigned to the agency’s outpost in Paris, where he became vp/international client services.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)