Former Goodby Leader Harold Sogard Goes to Hal Riney

Becomes Chairman of San Fran Agency That's Looking to Grow, Attract New Tech Business

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Harold Sogard
Harold Sogard

Publicis Groupe is pushing forward with its attempt to revive Publicis & Hal Riney and transform it into a formidable player in the San Francisco ad market.

The agency has hired Harold Sogard, most recently vice chairman and partner at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, to serve as chairman of the agency. The move follows the hire of a new chief creative officer, Kevin Roddy, earlier this year, and together the hires are a signal that Publicis has recommitted to investing in Hal Riney, a once-great creative shop has become relatively dormant.

"Kevin was [us] punching above our weight in terms of a creative hire ... that was the beginning and bringing Harold on is another step, and combining [Riney] with [digital agency] Modem was another," Susan Gianinno, chairman-CEO of Publicis Worldwide's North American operations, told Ad Age . "Our aspiration is to make Riney a large agency, and running a large agency requires a different skill and different mindset and Harold brings that . His primary thrust will be growing the agency and bringing in some of these large integrated accounts."

Considering Ms. Gianinno has said in the past that her goal is to dethrone Omnicom Group's Goodby as the biggest and best-known shop in the San Francisco ad market, Riney's hire of one of someone with decades of experience at Goodby is an aggressive move.

Mr. Sogard, a onetime manager of Broadway plays, spent 19 years at Goodby, ultimately rising to the post of vice chairman and partner. When he left this past April, he said it was because he needed to embark on the "third act" of his ad career. Before Goodby, he spent time at Ogilvy, New York.

In particular, Riney, which currently works with Paypal, is seeking more clients in tech space. "A lot of the agencies in that market are used to small local accounts, and our aspirations for Riney are to get great small local accounts, but I also want to be able to attract more complex, global accounts-- ones from the technology sector especially," Ms. Gianinno said.

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