Sheehan Moves Up

The succession question at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos became clearer last week as Mike Sheehan was named president of U.S. operations, a new post.

The move appears to cement his standing as the likely successor to CEO Jack Connors when the 59-year-old co-founder steps down.

Sheehan, 41, returned to Hill, Holliday in mid-2000 after nine months at DDB, Chicago. He moves up from president and executive creative director of the flagship Boston office, and will oversee all Hill, Holliday outposts, freeing Connors to focus on the shop’s growth.

As Sheehan assumes a broader role, the agency is launching a search for a new Boston ecd. Sheehan first worked at Hill, Holliday from 1994-99, holding senior creative positions.

He is succeeded as Boston president by Karen Kaplan, 41, who previously was evp/managing director. She continues to run key accounts FleetBoston Financial and John Hancock Financial Services. Kap lan has been at the shop since 1982.

“[They] are battle-hardened brand builders, respected by their colleagues and invested with enormous talent and leadership ability,” said Connors in a statement.

Starting next year, Sheehan wants the shop to return to the 15-20 percent annual growth it had in the late ’90s. Pitching accounts in an inte grated fashion, using talent and resources from all offices to gain leverage against larger competitors, will provide a means to that end, he said.

Hill, Holliday projects a 10-15 percent falloff in revenue and bill ings in 2001, respectively, due largely to the San Francisco office’s poor year.

Connors remains chairman and CEO of the Interpublic Group shop.