Passing The Torch: Hill, Holliday Names Sheehan Creative Director

Having cleared several important hurdles since joining the creative department at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos four years ago, Mike Sheehan last week was promoted to creative director at the Boston agency.
The post has been vacant since creative director Fred Bertino was elevated to president during the shop’s 25th anniversary bash five years ago.
Sheehan’s promotion was announced last week by Bertino in a memo to employees that was given to Adweek. “Mike’s creative talent, work ethic and management ability is a rare combination to be found in one person, and he has brought all these talents to bear, helping us create greater work and grow as an agency,” wrote Bertino, who could not be reached for comment at press time.
The copywriter has largely been credited with hitting home runs when called on for some major assignments. Sheehan crafted a replacement effort for John Hancock’s long-running and enormously popular “Real life, real answers” campaign and marshalled the first corporate ad effort for Fidelity Investments as well as various retail assignments for the mutual funds company.
Not only has Sheehan pulled off these difficult tasks, said agency insiders last week, but he works well with both Bertino and agency chairman Jack Connors.
“Philosophically, Mike and Fred are very much alike,” said Hill, Holliday group creative director Jamie Mambro. “They leave us alone, which allows each of us to really be passionate about the work we’re focused on.”
No other management changes in the creative department are expected as a result of the promotion, which sources said had been expected.
Since joining the ad industry more than a dozen years ago, Sheehan had switched jobs every two years until 1994, when he moved to Hill, Holliday from what was then Houston Effler & Partners.
“I’m always looking for a bigger challenge,” he said. While the opportunities are limited for him in the Boston market, so far he has avoided pursuing calls from agencies outside the region. Many believe the Boston-area native, who early on worked at agencies in Chicago and professes serious dislike for New York, will be in Boston for years to come.