Just the thought of rock climbing can give some people the shakes. But for Bill Brunt, a new svp and group account director at Publicis in Mid America, it’s a prime source of relaxation.

“When you’re rock climbing, you’re extraordinarily focused—you don’t think about a deadline or a relationship problem or any issues other than not falling off this rock,” said Brunt, who most recently led the Advil account as a vp, group management director at Grey in New York. “When you come back from a rock or climbing gym, you’re calm and relaxed and purged.”

That kind of focus will certainly come in handy to Brunt, 38, who will oversee a four-person account team for the Dallas shop’s Sara Lee business. The Chicago-based client consolidated its estimated $30 million bakery account with the Publicis Groupe agency in January 2002, and shifted its estimated $10 million deli business to the shop earlier this month from Omnicom Group’s PGC Advertising in Dallas.

“It’s one brand, and the strategic challenge to us is how to best leverage the equity across their expanding lines,” said Brunt. “I think that’s the challenge for Sara Lee as well.”

Brunt, who becomes one of four svp/group account directors at the shop, reports to Steve Price, chairman and CEO of Publicis in Mid America.

From 1993-97, Brunt, a native of Radnor, Pa., primarily worked on Boar’s Head Provisions Co. at Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in New York. He left to become vp of marketing at Boar’s Head, then moved to Grey in 2001.

At Hill, Holliday, Brunt’s team developed the plan for Waterford Wedgwood to drop a Waterford crystal ball in Times Square during the millennium celebration. “It got amazing press, and the plan is that the ball will end up in the Smithsonian,” said Brunt.