Ryan Rounds Out Core Management Team at JWT

In her first major management moves since becoming president of J. Walter Thompson in New York in early January, Rosemarie Ryan has recruited former colleague Brian Martin as director of business development and promoted JWT veteran Megwin Finegan to general manager.

The changes—which follow January’s recasting in the creative department (in the works before Ryan arrived on Jan. 5), with ecd Eric Steinhauser and deputy ecd Nat Whitten replacing chief creative officer Mike Campbell—have created a new core management team in the span of two months.

One area that Ryan’s new team will focus on is jump-starting the $1.4 billion WPP Group shop’s efforts on the new-business front. Last year, more than 80 percent of the office’s estimated $290 million in new billings (including Pfizer consumer healthcare and T. Rowe Price) came via WPP’s acquisition of Bates and the fallout from the dismantling of that shop. And although JWT’s New York office participated in more than six high-profile pitches, including Six Flags and Kmart, it converted on just two.

Ryan, formerly president at Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, noted that “you have to build new business” to achieve a “sense of momentum” and “feel like winners.”

In picking partners, Ryan, 41, said she sought hands-on, entrepreneurial types. “I was constantly thinking about ‘do they have the same values, [and] do they respect each other?’ ” she said.

The newcomer—Martin—worked with Ryan at Kirshenbaum in New York from 1995-97, when Ryan was president and Martin, director of new business development. On their watch, the shop landed brands such as Rockport and Prudential HealthCare.

At JWT, Martin, 44, will focus on New York’s new business but also help other U.S. offices when needed, the agency said. He succeeds North American director of business development Roman Lesnau, 43, who is moving to JWT’s Detroit office to become management director on the agency’s Ford retail business, effective April 1.

Martin, who also has held senior posts at Bozell and DiNoto, said Ryan’s leadership style was a key factor in joining JWT. “She gets the best out of everybody who works for her,” he said. Ryan, who considered a half-dozen candidates for the job, cited her chemistry with Martin. (“We can finish each other’s sentences.”)

JWT’s new gm, Finegan, 39, had been senior partner, director of training and development. She will manage day-to-day operations, a role formerly held by COO Marc Capra, who in January shifted to global chief talent officer, a new post.