Zenith Media aims to bolster U.S. by importing Jones

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Zenith Media Services is making a move to bolster its U.S. fortunes by moving Tim Jones, a top executive from London, to New York in the new role of exec VP-business development for the U.S.

Mr. Jones will retain his current title, director of worldwide client services and business development.

"We sat down and said the reality is there are more global companies in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world," said Zenith Chairman-CEO John Perriss. "And it's clear that global advertisers are our prime prospects on a network-development basis. So you don't need a great quantum leap of logic to realize it would be better if we located our business development director in the U.S. rather than London."

BEEFING UP U.S. NEW-BIZ TEAM

But Mr. Perriss conceded the move also is intended to beef up the new-business team in the U.S. While the media buying service has had some significant wins in the past year--most notably, Bell Atlantic Corp.'s $200 million consolidation--insiders said there has been some disappointment that Zenith in the U.S. hasn't won more business.

Rich Hamilton, CEO of the New York office, joined Zenith 20 months ago after a long career at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and is a respected media veteran who has earned kudos for turning around a troubled Zenith.

"Rich has done a huge amount of work getting the product really right," Mr. Perriss said. "We had some teething problems that were pretty well-documented," including a spat with former client Miller Brewing Co. that erupted into a lawsuit.

DELIVERING ON PROMISES

"At this point, we're delivering to our clients the kind of service advantages we promised them four years ago . . . when we started" in the U.S., he continued. "The first task was to always serve existing clients better."

Zenith, co-owned by Cordiant Communications Group and Saatchi & Saatchi, also is focusing on getting media-only business not tied to its agency parents, Mr. Perriss said.

Mr. Jones will start work in New York in July, but will continue to travel extensively.

"Instead of spending one week a month in the U.S. and three weeks in Europe, he'll flip that around," Mr. Perriss said.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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