WPP Names Leader for Dell Shop

NEW YORK WPP Group today confirmed hiring Digitas’ Boston president Torrence Boone as worldwide CEO of the agency WPP is building to handle Dell’s global marketing services account.

Boone, 38, will start in June and report to WPP CEO Martin Sorrell. He’ll be based in New York and join a management team that includes chief creative officer Ken Segall, chief media officer Matt Rayner, consumer solutions group president Stephen Sonnenfeld and business solutions group president Jeffrey Wilks.

In a statement, Boone said he was attracted by the chance to play a leading role in developing a new agency that’s “built-to-spec, with an ambition to redefine the client-agency relationship.”

In its statement, WPP continued to use the agency’s placeholder name, Project DaVinci, though the holding company is considering others, including Synarchy. An agency representative said WPP is considering “several” names and is “close” to selecting one.

“Torrence is ideally suited to this critically important leadership role,” said Sorrell, also in statement. “His deep experience across multiple marketing disciplines and his reputation as a developer of innovative marketing programs make him uniquely qualified to lead Project Da Vinci as we focus on reinventing the approach for integrated marketing services.”

Boone had spent seven years at Digitas. Before that, he was vice president and general manager of the New York office of interactive shop Avenue A. Early in his career, he was a senior manager at business consultancy Bain & Co.

Dell awarded its global account to WPP in December after a review. During an initial three-year term, Dell is expected to spend an estimated $4.5 billion on marketing worldwide.

Since then, WPP has hired more than 500 staffers — roughly half its projected full-time staff — and set up offices in New York, Miami, San Francisco and Austin, Texas, near Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas. The shop also will have a presence in established and emerging markets overseas.

Digitas’ Boston-based U.S. CEO, Laura Lang, is expected to absorb Boone’s duties while the Publicis Groupe agency searches for his permanent successor.

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