Steve Davis Among Bates Names

NEW YORK — The search for a Bates North American CEO is down to a select few, according to sources. Said to be among the candidates is Steve Davis, last seen in the agency world closing Wells BDDP in 1998.

“The search has required us to seek out serious players within the industry. It’s a challenge, and we need senior talent to take it on,” said Chris van Someren, president of Korn/Ferry International, which is conducting the search for Bates. Van Someren declined to comment on the candidates.

Davis could not be reached. Bates Worldwide CEO David Hearn did not return calls.

The post is likely to be filled within the next 30 days, according to van Someren.

Bates initiated the search in late June following the departure of North American CEO Bill Whitehead in May. Whoever accepts the position will inherit a battered shop that has recently recorded more than $600 million in account losses, including Hyundai and Wendy’s.

Davis’ last gig at an agency was just as challenging. After Wells BDDP was dumped by Procter & Gamble in 1998, Davis was brought in as CEO to oversee the shop’s dismantling. Before that, he worked at Young & Rubicam, New York, and J. Walter Thompson, Chicago. Davis currently runs his own venture-capital firm, Giraffe Inc., in Silicon Valley.