Sawyer To Focus On Lowe S.F.’s Creative Product

New Managing Director Plans to Add Creative Chief, New Accounts
SAN FRANCISCO–Lowe & Partners/SMS is searching for a creative director to partner with its newly hired managing director, William “Buz” Sawyer, as it seeks to develop a stronger identity in the San Francisco ad community.
The 65-person office filled the long-vacant managing director post this month by hiring Sawyer from Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, where he was also managing director [Adweek, July 6].
Sawyer, who is expected to come on board soon after Labor Day, said his first task will be to find a creative leader for the office, which handles clients such as Sun Microsystems, Oral B and Eddie Bauer. Those accounts generate estimated billings of $120-150 million for the office, which was launched about a year ago by the agency’s New York headquarters, primarily to handle Sun Microsystems.
The office had been without a managing director since March, when Bob Jeffrey left to become president of J. Walter Thompson, New York. Sources said Jeffrey “prefers living in New York” and was “never happy” in San Francisco. Jeffrey was also said to have been “pushed into the job” by Lowe because he was instrumental in winning the Sun Microsystems and Eddie Bauer accounts. Since Jeffrey’s departure, members of the San Francisco ad community have wondered if the low-profile shop will become a significant player in this competitive market.
Sawyer, a Bay Area native, said he is excited at the prospect of building Lowe’s San Francisco office, and is ready to return to the U.S. after spending six years as the head of Wieden’s European operations, working on accounts such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Nike Europe. “I [helped] build Wieden [Amsterdam] into a strong, 140-person operation,” he said. “[Now] I want to help [Lowe] evolve further into a kick-ass, creatively-focused agency.”
Sun will remain Lowe’s “cornerstone account” in San Francisco, Sawyer said, but added that he would like the agency to take on “some small, creative-oriented accounts” in order to “keep us well-rounded.”