Riney Names New CEO

LOS ANGELES Karen Francis said she is resigning as chairman and CEO of Publicis & Hal Riney. Jamie King, the shop’s managing director, now becomes CEO and president.

King said he was pleased to have worked “side by side with Karen in expanding agency services and bringing in new clients. This is succession planning at its best.” He joined Riney two years ago from Publicis Groupe sibling Leo Burnett in Chicago, where he was an evp, group account director.

Francis said she would remain a consultant to the San Francisco-based agency indefinitely and had not accepted another permanent job. Her resume includes senior-level stints at Ford and Oldsmobile.

“There is never a perfect time to leave,” Francis said. “But after our U.S. Cellular win and strengthening the agency with [CCO] Roger [Camp] joining the team, I felt confident that this was the right move.”

“[Francis] has provided an invaluable strategic insight into the business needs of our clients and has helped steer the agency forward as a strong creative and business-building entity with a bright future,” said Maurice Lévy, Publicis Groupe CEO, in a statement. “She has assembled a talented executive team who will continue building on her contributions.”

Francis characterized the shop before her arrival as “largely a TV and radio” agency. “Now we’re fully integrated and global and we’ve transformed into a truly integrated [marketing] partner.”

King said he would not expect “any radical changes. We will expand our service offerings, win our share of new business, and raise the creative bar. That’s the path I’ll continue on.”

Charlotte Holden, who’d been svp, gm, was named the agency’s COO in the shuffle.

It’s been a wild ride in recent months for Riney, which lost its slice of $1.2 billion Sprint/Nextel early in the year to crosstown Omnicom shop Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

On the plus side, in along with adding the $75 million U.S. Cellular business, the agency recently picked up work from Altoids and Pinnacle Foods.