Publicis Hires Rich as Group CD on VoiceStream

Publicis in the West has hired Rob Rich as senior principal, group creative director on the estimated $115 million VoiceStream account, the shop’s largest.

Rich, 36, resigned in March as svp, group creative director at Mullen in Wenham, Mass., to freelance and possibly start his own agency [Adweek, March 26]. Several weeks later, he agreed to serve as interim group head on VoiceStream at Publicis’ Seattle office, said agency co-president and chief creative officer Kevin Kehoe.

Rich worked on the wireless communications company’s account for six to eight weeks before the position evolved into a permanent one.

“It became a no-brainer. The client loved him and encouraged us to hire him,” said Kehoe.

Rich will oversee art direction on Voice Stream; the shop is looking for a “partner of equal weight on the writing side,” Kehoe said.

Rich described the move as “unexpected,” but said he is eager to help Publicis become a “creative powerhouse.”

“I wanted to make sure I went somewhere where the work was very important and where I was going to be doing the work, as well as managing,” Rich said.

At Mullen, Rich worked on accounts including, Genuity, Sesame Workshop and Money magazine, and led a creative group that won six One Show pencils this year for and The American Heritage Dictionary.

The hire follows other changes at Publicis. Kehoe and Randy Browning joined as co-presidents in February. A week ago, chairman and CEO Dennis Miller resigned. While the reasons for his departure are unclear, one source said it may be related to the “new world order” at the agency.

The shop also recently hired director of creative services Marcella Estes from Leagas Delaney in San Francisco; copywriter John Reid from Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston; and art director Nancy Aquino, a freelancer who was previously with Arnold Ingalls Moranville in San Francisco.