Y&R Names N.Y. Leader

NEW YORK Shelley Diamond, a 16-year veteran and director of account management at Young & Rubicam here, is rising to managing partner to lead the New York headquarters, Y&R said today.

Diamond, 50, fills a vacancy left by the April 2006 exit of Mary Maroun, who became president and managing director of the New York office of Havas’ Arnold. Diamond, who also is a global client leader, will continue to report to worldwide CEO Hamish McLennan.

Diamond is most closely associated with the WPP Group shop’s Xerox account, which she has managed since 1991, but also leads account management efforts on Campbell Soup Co. and MetLife. She will continue to steer those accounts as managing partner.

Since the abrupt exit of North American CEO Chris Jaques in January, McLennan has sought regional leadership help. Jaques held the North American role for just three months and some sources expected McLennan to fill that post with someone who could both run North America and New York.

Now, with the New York role filled, McLennan will continue his search for a North American chief and he intends to take his time to find the right candidate. “There’s no rush,” said McLennan. “The most significant issue was resolving the New York management issue.”

As managing director, Diamond is tasked with managing a staff of more than 600, attracting talent, expanding the office’s new media and digital capabilities, and cultivating new business, be it from new or existing clients. “She understands the DNA of Y&R. She has grown business consistently and she is absolutely loved by all the staff,” McLennan said, when asked about the appointment.

So why wasn’t she named sooner? “We wanted to look at the market, see what was out there. And she was the best candidate by far,” McLennan said.

Diamond, who describes her leadership style as energetic, open and inclusive, plans to focus initially on existing clients and staffers to make sure the shop is delivering strong sales results for clients and the staff clearly understands Y&R’s goals and objectives. “I know this place as well as I know my own home,” said Diamond. “The people here are my family and there’s so much talent here.” As for existing clients, she said, “There’s a tremendous amount of growth that we can get.”

Other top clients run out of New York include Accenture, Altria, Colgate-Palmolive and Danone.

The office is among six contenders for the U.S. Census’ estimated $200 million account, with a decision expected as early as next month. In June, the shop came up short in pitches for Smith Barney ($35 million) and the New York State Lottery ($40 million), which Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson and Omnicom Group’s DDB, respectively, won.