Last week, he captured another quarry-the chairman's title at DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago. The move marks a return to more centralized leadership in Chicago, just as last summer's ap-pointment of Ken Kaess to president of DDB Needham, New York, did in that office.
But it doesn't spell a break with the managing partner structure, a setup conceived by DDB Needham Worldwide Chairman Keith Reinhard that's fanning out to other offices.
John Bradstock, president of DDB Needham U.S. and the man reputed to have anointed both with the belief that senior executives need a central focus, said in a Chicago staff memo: "The managing partner structure, which has proven to be a highly effective and productive structure for our agency and clients, will remain unchanged."
In fact, it is now being considered in "both Dallas and Toronto," he told Advertising Age. Dallas is closer to implementing it.
Of Mr. Pilkington, Mr. Reinhard said: "Before he went to Chicago, he was ... very much involved in the early developments that led to this approach."
"We closed off 1994 with $670 million in billings, up $75 million to $80 million from the year before, and are running at a rate of about $800 million for 1995," Mr. Pilkington said. "There are two things that have propelled our strong performance in the last 18 months-new-business wins such as Helene Curtis, S.C. Johnson and Budweiser ... and our managing partner structure that has proven to be effective in the Chicago context. For us, 1994 was the year things really started coming together."
The agency, said to be pitching both Florists' Transworld Delivery and Tyson Foods, wants to keep that growth going while raising its creative stature.
"Our goal is to become a $1 billion agency," Mr. Pilkington said.
That distinction now belongs to just one Chicago agency- Leo Burnett Co.
In announcing the appointments of Mr. Pilkington and Bob Scarpelli, who adds the vice chairman title to chief creative officer, Mr. Bradstock said: "Last year's new-business wins and our performance on the recent Super Bowl broadcast tell me that we have a management team that's going to get us there real soon."
Said Mr. Pilkington: "John and I were friends and competitors 20 years ago in Australia ... I like working with John."
BIRTH DATE: Jan. 13, 1943, in Yea, Australia.
EDUCATION: B.A., University of Melbourne.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Exec VP-managing director, DDB Needham Worldwide's Chicago office, 1991-1995; previous stints with the agency in New York and as president of the Asia Pacific division; previously exec VP-director of worldwide business development, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, and chairman of the agency's Australian company.
PERSONAL: Married to Carolyn; two daughters, Emma and Amy.