Wightman Moves to Arnold

Seasoned account planner Baysie Wightman has arrived at Arnold as vp, group planning director.

Wightman reports to Graceann Bennett, who joined the Boston-based Havas agency last year as evp, director of brand planning. Wightman had worked for Bennett in the late-1990s at Mullen in Wenham, Mass.; at the time, Wightman oversaw planning for Lending Tree.com, among others.

A proven ability to build consensus between agency creative teams and client officials was a key factor in Wightman’s recruitment, Bennett said. “It’s a rare combination, and we’re lucky to have her,” said Bennett.

Wightman serves as one of four group planning directors in the 12-person account planning department; Christine Leonard, Amy Owens and Kate van Dam are the others. Bennett said she created the fourth position in an effort to raise the profile of account planning at Arnold. Wightman will initially oversee account planning chores for Fidelity Investments and Ocean Spray. In addition, she is charged with helping the department evolve its function in light of the slow economy and the resulting decrease in budgets and account planning assignments.

“It’s harder to reach consumers and attract them now,” Wightman said. Smaller budgets have forced the agency to be more resourceful in its research, via ways that include using the Internet to gather information and supplementing its own work with research conducted by others.

Wightman joins Arnold after a year-long stint at crosstown shop McCarthy Mambro Bertino, where she served as director of account planning. She helped the 2-year-old shop develop its first creative work for marquee clients Jiffy Lube and Thomasville Furniture. Wightman helped craft the humorous “Well-oiled machine” campaign for Jiffy Lube; she also contributed ideas to the lifestyle-conscious Thomasville ads tagged, “Where style lives.” Her successor at MMB has not been named, and agency executives did not return calls.

According to Wightman, the chance to work for a large agency with national accounts—along with her ties to Bennett—led her to join Arnold. “MMB was great, but they’re still a very small shop,” said Wightman. “I feel I can contribute more here.”

She has also served as associate planning director at defunct Boston shop Leo Burnett Technology Group (a high flier during the dot-com boom) and in marketing positions with Converse, Reebok and Burton Snowboards.