Y&R Taps Riney’s Harding

Looking to re plenish its ranks after the departure of several senior creatives, Young & Rubicam’s office here has hired Publicis & Hal Riney veteran Jack Harding.

The 41-year-old executive has been named vice president and associate creative director. He will team with Tom Peck, senior vice president and group creative director on Verisign and Vignette Corp., both computer tech nology accounts. He will also assist with new-business pitches.

Harding most recently worked for six years on Saturn and America West at Riney. He lost his position when the agency was forced to trim staff following the loss of the $300 million Saturn account.

The president of Y&R’s San Francisco office, Penny Baldwin, said she heard positive reviews about Harding from other creatives in the market and was impressed by his portfolio.

“His book stood out from the whole mix of portfolios we were looking at,” Baldwin said. “The ads he’s produced over his career were excellent. There was no question of his copywriting style. We want to improve the creative product, and he will add to this.”

“We did our due diligence, and Jack had glowing reviews from everyone,” Baldwin added. “It was a good chemistry fit, as well as a good talent fit.”

Harding started June 10.

Prior to his stint at Riney, Harding was senior copywriter at now-defunct Katsin/Loeb Advertising from 1990 to 1995. He worked on Cellular One, Electronic Arts, Marriott and Radisson accounts there.

Harding has won a Cannes Silver Lion, AAF Best in the West and the San Francisco Show Gold.

“I’m going to approach everything the same way I always have,” Harding said of his new job. “I always try to have some fun with things I’m working on. I think people in general don’t care much about advertising, but when you give them something to care about, they respect that.”

Harding also called his position a “notch up” from his last job “because I’ll have a chance to run some business and give this agency some momentum. They want to get things going here. … There is a chance to make people a little surprised about the work that is coming out.”

The agency is still looking for a top creative director to replace Stephen Creet, who left the shop earlier this year.

Y&R’s San Francisco office also works with ChevronTexaco, Sun Maid Raisins and the city of Oakland. The agency is a member of the WPP Group.