Magazine article ADWEEK

Shops Settle in for Lengthy Account-Planner Searches: TBWA\C\D Taps Duthie; Top Posts Elsewhere Still Vacant

Magazine article ADWEEK

Shops Settle in for Lengthy Account-Planner Searches: TBWA\C\D Taps Duthie; Top Posts Elsewhere Still Vacant

Article excerpt

NEW YORK Account planning chiefs, once seen as a rare breed of white knights riding to the rescue of the creative process as the "consumer surrogate," are much in demand these days, but for a broader range of reasons than before. And top agencies are taking their time in finding the right executives to fill those positions.

The top planning posts at Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi in New York and Onmicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco have been vacant since last summer. And it took six months for the New York office of Omnicom's TBWA\Chiat\Day to fill a similar hole, hiring Hugh Duthie last week. Duthie, 42, a consultant who has held top planning jobs at Fallon and M&C Saatchi, starts his new job on Feb. 24.

Even though planning has long heen a critical piece of the creative puzzle, it's now becoming even more central to new-business growth, as clients increasingly demand business-building ideas that extend beyond advertising--a process in which planners are key players. "I really do believe there is a demand on planners that didn't exist before to be wider and deeper thinkers than they were in the past, and we've been lucky enough to have planners like that," said Goodby cofounder and creative director Jeff Goodby, whose agency is seeking a successor to Chris Chalk, who left in July to became of head of strategy at London shop Boy Meets Girl. "Yon can't just hire a guy with an accent," Goodby said. …

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