Mr. McLean will be responsible for placing media for clients including WebStreet, Absolut vodka, Barnes & Noble, Wonderbra and Prodigy. Previously, he was managing director of Synergi Nordic, Oslo, a Scandinavian media network owned by TBWA parent Omnicom Group.
His hiring marks the ninth new executive under the five-month watch of TBWA/Chiat/Day New York President-CEO Carl Johnson, who said it "completes the jigsaw" puzzle of the agency's top management.
"Nick will be a key part of the agency management," Mr. Johnson said. "I don't just think of him as a media manager, he'll contribute to the direction of the agency."
A TIDE OF TRANSITION
The New York office of TBWA/Chiat/Day has gone through a tide of transition recently. Mr. Johnson has been working closely with Chief Creative Officer David Page to overhaul the New York shop's management and focus. Both Messrs. Johnson and Page came aboard in April.
The New York shop has experienced some rough patches over the past several years. Since the 1995 merger of TBWA and Chiat/Day, it's often been overshadowed by its sibling Playa del Rey branch. While New York stood on the sidelines, the West Coast office attracted much of the network's creative and client attention.
The New York office also bore much of the merger's burden. Tradition-minded TBWA staffers were hit with culture shock from the very beginning, when they were transplanted into Chiat's downtown "virtual" offices, where no one had a permanent desk.
NEW YORK'S REVOLVING DOOR
While the West Coast shop had an ever-present spiritual and managerial leader in creative director Lee Clow, the New York office had a revolving door of executive changes. In fact, no key member of the New York management team circa 1997 remains with the agency.
TBWA Worldwide President-CEO Michael Greenlees and President-CEO of the Americas Bob Kuperman were catalysts for much of the New York restructuring. Both executives have said rebuilding that office is a top priority.
But Mr. Johnson said the 200-person office is now realizing long-term stability and a positive future. It is now in new, more structured, uptown offices and the agency has a blueprint for its future.
"I don't think there's any doubt at all that destiny is in our own hands," he said. "I can see and feel a different atmosphere already."
Mr. McLean said the newly installed top management team "will pull in the same direction to make the agency meet its objectives." The New York office has all the skills it needs, he added, but "it's time we stood up and were a bit loud about the fact that we have ideas."
Industry observers expect the New York agency to work on the quality of creative output while shedding clients that don't fit its vision.
The only other management changes stem from additions to the agency's account teams. More hires may be necessary, said Mr. Johnson, because of recent new-business wins, including the $50 million account for online broker WebStreet and the $75 million assignment of electronics retailer Circuit City Stores.
"This network is very ambitious. . . . In order for it to achieve its global ambitions, the New York office has to be very strong," said Mr. Johnson. "The brief here is quality. You assemble the team, and on that basis, you pursue business."
With the completion of the management team, Mr. Johnson is now concentrating on other agency tasks.
"The next priority is to focus on the quality of output -- be it account management, strategic advice, creative or media output," he said. "The overriding thing is we have a real clarity of purpose for what we're trying to