NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- MDC Partners-owned Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners has quietly hired Bill Grogan, a nearly 30-year ad-industry veteran and the husband of the agency CEO Lori Senecal, to serve as its chief global marketing officer -- a newly created role.
In a statement, the agency had only this to say: "Bill Grogan has joined Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners as chief global marketing officer. His responsibilities include leading the global Kao account, as well as overseeing the transition of Adrenalina into KBS&P."
The company said last month that Adrenalina, MDC's 3-year-old U.S. Hispanic agency, would become an operating unit of KBSP following the departure of the last of Adrenalina's three founders, Manuel Wernicky.
KBS&P and its parent company are batting away any allegations of nepotism having a role in Mr. Grogan's hiring. According to an MDC representative, "Mr. Grogan was hired after an informal search which took place over the past several months" and he will not report to Ms. Senecal, the CEO, but to Chairman Richard Kirshenbaum.
Mr. Grogan has spent the bulk of his career at Interpublic Group of Cos. but has also clocked time at Omnicom Group's BBDO and served for a time as president of WPP's Berlin Cameron. This won't be the first time he's worked with Ms. Senecal; the two met working together at McCann years ago.
Most recently, he served as managing director in New York at Momentum, the event-marketing division of McCann WorldGroup. There he reported to Momentum Global Chairman-CEO Chris Weil, and its unclear when he left. Momentum representatives did not return a request for comment, nor did Mr. Grogan.
It remains to be seen whether the hire raises some eyebrows in adland. If it does, it wouldn't be the first time KBS&P has found itself in the middle of a hiring controversy. In April, it was sued by McCann for allegedly poaching talent, but the suit was quickly settled.
Although the agency says all 22 Adrenalina staffers will remain, it's not clear exactly how the new operating unit will function, or what Mr. Grogan will do. Adrenalina is the Hispanic agency for Heineken USA's Tecate and Tecate Light beer account -- and in fact was formed to pitch for that business -- but doesn't appear to have any other significant ongoing business.