Media Pros Maneuver

Carat Freeman and Pro Media have named Peter Twombly and Robert DeFlavio to oversee their respective new-business operations.

Both media agencies have been unable to add significant accounts in recent months, and each looks to the new hires to help reverse that trend.

“The economy has hit all the agencies hard,” said Jane Deery, executive vp, managing director at Carat Freeman, Newton, Mass. “We’ve had the new-business position in the past on a part-time basis, but we wanted to hire someone to focus exclusively on [finding new clients]. Peter is well connected, aggressive and hardworking.”

Initially, Twombly will look to “increase new business and that will entail doing a lot of creative selling and leveraging the power of Carat to attract Fortune 500-level companies,” he said.

Twombly, director of new business, reports to both Daniel Belmont, president of Carat Freeman, and Deery. Previously, Twombly was CEO of Rockport Press Consulting in Boston, where he helped advertising and public relations agencies develop strategies for pitching new business.

Carat Freeman’s technology fo-cus has led to a loss of momentum since the dot-com bust, with few recent wins and cutbacks at major clients such as CMGI. Carat Freeman is a unit of London-based Aegis Group, which lost $10 million last year after posting a profit of $70 million in 2000.

DeFlavio joins Natick, Mass.-based indie Pro Media as vp, new-business development. Previously, DeFlavio was vp of advertising at The Robb Report, a magazine published in Acton, Mass. He also spent 18 years at American Express, rising to vp, retail-account development.

DeFlavio’s describes his mission as twofold: forge partnerships with smaller creative shops that do not have media capabilities and attract midsize clients that may feel lost in the shuffle at larger agencies.

“He’s gotten a good grasp of what we’re doing and how we’re positioning ourselves—I think he’s uniquely qualified,” said Nancy Ryan, president and CEO of Pro Media.

In the past year, Pro Media’s billings fell nearly 30 percent to approximately $200 million. The departure of the media portion ofStaples’ estimated $70 million account was the biggest loss. Carat Freeman’s numbers remained flat compared to 2001.