LA COMUNIDAD HIRES NEW GENERAL MANAGER

Alain Groenendaal Was Longtime Leo Burnett Latin America Executive

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- One of the hottest U.S. Hispanic agencies, Miami-based La Comunidad, is hiring longtime Leo Burnett executive Alain Groenendaal to fill the role left vacant since Gary Bassell resigned as president almost a year ago to become CEO of WPP Group’s Bravo Group, New York.
Alain Groenendaal was Leo Burnett's senior VP-regional strategy and business development director, Latin America and Caribbean.

Equity stake partner
Mr. Groenendaal starts with the title of general manager, but the intention is to make him a partner with an equity stake in the agency, said the agency's founder and creative director, Jose Molla. Mr. Groenendaal, 43, was Burnett’s senior VP-regional strategy and business development director, Latin America and Caribbean.

“He’s a Hispanic trapped in an American body,” Mr. Molla said. Mr. Groenendaal joined Leo Burnett as an account executive in Chile in 1984, and moved to Puerto Rico two years later. In 1995, he was transferred to Brazil as VP-group account director on the Procter & Gamble Co. and other international accounts, and became business development director for Brazil in 1997 and the whole region in 2001. He relocated to Miami in 2003 after winning Visa International’s business for Latin America.

Agency pitching again
Mr. Molla said that with Mr. Bassell’s departure and account wins like Virgin Mobile, the agency has been closed to new business for a while but now is pitching again.

La Comunidad, founded four years ago by Mr. Molla and his brother Joaquin, both Argentine creatives, is an unusual hybrid with a 25-person office in Miami and another in Buenos Aires, with 35 staff members.

Argentina is the source of a number of the leading creative directors in the U.S. Hispanic market, such as Pablo Buffagni at Conill and Grupo Gallegos’ Favio Ucedo, but La Comunidad is the first agency to have dual Miami and Buenos Aires offices.
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