W&B Adds a Partner, Shifts Focus

Former Washington Redskins executive Stephen Baldacci has become a partner at E. James White Communications. Beginning today, the agency will operate as White & Baldacci.

Baldacci, who most recently was president of business operations and chief marketing officer for the NFL team, joins Matt White, chairman and CEO of the Herndon, Va., independent agency. Baldacci’s arrival signals a change in the shop’s management model. White said W&B will shift its focus from providing creative resources to marketing consulting.

“Management consulting firms like KPMG and Andersen have tread on advertising’s domain, but they don’t have the creative ability,” White said. “There’s a void in this area of the country for a sophisticated, full-service agency.”

White said he will promote W&B’s independence. “Not everyone can work with an agency owned by a holding company where motivations can be swayed by quarterly profits,” White said. “Our independence lets us focus on client needs.”

W&B wants to pitch directly to client chief executives. “Most agencies deal with the marketing people, but the decision comes down to the CEO,” said White.

“One of the most evident trends I’ve seen in working with the range of clients at the Redskins is the movement of clients to focus on specific areas that are advantageous and comprehensive,” Baldacci said.

The relationships Baldacci forged with team sponsors such as Federal Express, Lockheed Martin and Nextel could, sources said, help open new-business doors at an agency that has focused primarily on government, travel and technology clients.

Baldacci’s résumé lists four years with the NFL squad under owner Dan Snyder; before that, he worked at Snyder Communications, former parent of the Arnold agency network, which was sold to Havas in 2000.