At the top of his list: integration.
McCann WorldGroup has acquired companies and resources across seven separate business units in the last few years. Now Mr. Heekin faces the challenge of integrating those businesses -- which, in addition to advertising, include public relations, Internet and direct marketing -- for McCann clients.
"We haven't really discussed integration," said Mr. Heekin, 50. "Now we've got critical mass and the core competencies that we need, so we're beginning to say, `How do you integrate these companies strategically so they can work together?' "
BEST OF THE BEST
Creative output is another priority. While McCann has begun to earn praise for campaigns for clients such as MasterCard International and E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Mr. Heekin said he wants McCann to be the best creative agency in its multinational peer group.
"The challenge is to make the creative more consistent . . . around the world," he said.
Mr. Heekin takes over the top post just three months after he became president-CEO of the agency division of McCann-Erickson Worldwide. But contrary to what the short time frame seems to suggest, he has paid his dues. He's been at the agency since 1993 and has run both North America and Europe/Africa/Middle East.
"He's a tough act to follow, but to me the great thing is we have so much momentum going forward," Mr. Heekin said.
The McCann of today, known for stronger creative, a solid management team and a consistent ability to snare new business, is a different place from the agency Mr. Heekin joined.
"Our saying at McCann is `Whatever it takes,' and Jim started that," said Nina DiSesa, chief creative officer and chairman of McCann's New York office. "He hired almost all of us in new business and senior management, except [Chief Operating Officer] Eric Keshin. . . . He's very skilled at team building."
In his new post, Mr. Heekin succeeds John J. Dooner Jr., who moved to McCann parent Interpublic Group of Cos. as president-chief operating officer.