Person Joins Mullen To Run Direct, New Media




Hiring of Former Hill, Holliday Exec Is Precursor to Bigger Initiative
BOSTON–The executive who set up the interactive unit at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has joined Mullen in a new post that oversees direct marketing and new media initiatives.
Rich Person, 48, is believed to be the first of what sources described as a new senior-level management team being brought in to build Mullen’s integrated marketing capabilities, with an eye toward buying an independent direct marketing agency.
Mullen president Joe Grimaldi last week alluded to “major initiatives” the agency would soon be embarking on, but he would not elaborate.
During his three-year tenure at Hill, Holliday, Person served first as executive creative director of Hill, Holliday Direct and set up the shop’s interactive unit, now run by John Connors, son of agency chairman Jack Connors.
Person was one of three executives hired by Hill, Holliday in 1995 from Ingalls, Quinn & Johnson in Boston. “He’s a wonderful partner,” said Leslie Kaplan, an executive vice president at Hill, Holliday and one of the trio who left Ingalls. “He’ll fit in culturally [at Mullen]. He has a lot of energy and enthusiasm and is very apolitical. He’s a great team player with a lot of fire in the belly.”
“We believed the whole interactive and direct area is going to play an increasing [role in] our business,” said Grimaldi, to whom Person will report. “We wanted to build on what we’ve put together, and that required a leader who had demonstrable expertise. We found nobody who was more passionate about it.”
Mullen’s direct and interactive marketing groups have been merged into one unit that now employs a staff of 25 and contributes at least 10 percent to Mullen’s total billings, which are around $202 million, agency executives said.
Harry Wellot retains the title of director of direct marketing and reports to Person, Grimaldi said. Nancy Harhut, creative director of direct marketing, was recently promoted to senior vice president and also reports to Person.
“The basics are here and the opportunities are here. It’s my job to take it to the next level,” said Person, adding that part of Mullen’s appeal was co-workers he already knew.