Simmons Becomes Tierney’s Chief Creative

NEW YORK Tierney Communications has hired Kelly Simmons, a freelance creative who has worked on the shop’s Commerce Bank campaign for nearly a year, to assume the chief creative officer post vacated by Tony DeGregorio this month.

Simmons, 45, will begin work at the agency on June 23, overseeing a staff of 20 creatives, said Scott Franks, chief executive officer of Tierney Communications. Simmons has worked with the agency on and off for nearly seven years, he said. Most recently, she led the creative effort for Commerce Bank, a campaign that features Seinfeld alumna Julia Louis-Dreyfus, he said.

“I’ve seen what she’s done,” Franks said when asked why he filled the position so quickly. “Why do I have to go search for months when I have somebody here?”

During the late 1990s, Franks and Simmons worked together at Earle Palmer Brown in Philadelphia, where she was first an svp and then an executive creative director. During the past several years, Simmons owned Philadelphia shop Bubble and co-founded Goose, also in Philadelphia, an agency that concentrated on marketing to women.

Tierney Communications launched a full-blown search in 2001, when then-CEO Brian Tierney interviewed some 30 candidates. A year after DeGregorio left Publicis in New York for Tierney Communications, the shop named the advertising unit Tierney DeGregorio. That name will revert back to Tierney Advertising, an agency representative said.

DeGregorio, a native New Yorker, has returned to his Manhattan residence to consider a variety of options, he said. DeGregorio said that while his exit was announced late last week, he agreed to leave the shop in early June.

“This is something that had been brewing for a long time,” DeGregorio said.

DeGregorio said his goals and the goals for the shop did not mix. Franks blamed the split on creative differences.

“These things happen,” said Franks. “You enter into these things and you find along the way that you have some philosophical differences. This is a highly charged business.” Franks would not elaborate on what those differences were.