Wieden Finds Exec For ESPN Account

Until now, the closest Rich Weinstein has come to working on a pro-sports account was when he interned for the Baltimore Orioles while a student at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

More than a decade later, the 34-year-old Baltimore native on June 1 will become account director on ESPN, the largest account (with a budget of $35 million) at the New York office of independent Wieden + Kennedy.

Weinstein will join Wieden from WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, where he is an account director on Pfizer’s Zyrtec and Coke’s Dasani accounts. He arrived at that shop last June from Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, where he worked on accounts such as Discover Card, Dryers ice cream, Match.com and Netflix.

“He is extremely well-rounded as an account person,” said Wieden New York managing director Buz Sawyer, to whom Weinstein reports. “From Dryers to Dasani, Rich has a lot of account-management experience, and from the agencies he’s worked at, his appreciation for the creative product shows.”

“The chance to work on an account like ESPN was incredibly alluring,” said Weinstein. “I’m a huge sports fan, and it’s a great opportunity to be able to apply a personal passion to your professional life.”

Weinstein replaces Angie Vieira, who left the shop in January after running the ESPN account for five years. He will also lead the $2 million U.S. Trust account, Sawyer said.

Aaron Taylor, vp of marketing at ESPN, said Weinstein will step in on the next NFL Countdown effort and the next leg of ESPN’s “Without sports” campaign. “We … quickly gauged his passion for sports and for the ESPN brand, and we want him to challenge us further creatively and strategically,” said Taylor.