Taking one key position is renaissance man Chris Clark, 38, an exec VP recently dubbed director of business development. He succeeds John Marchese, now chairman of Bates USA sibling 141 Integrated Communications.
Bill Whitehead, Bates North America CEO, said the moves are part of a process that began three years ago to rebuild the management team. He said Mr. Clark brings a select set of attributes to the position: intellect, broad management experience and a fresh perspective.
Weeks into the job, Mr. Clark has begun to make his mark. He sent a pair of shark jaws to a prospective client to demonstrate Bates' hunger for the business. The agency didn't make the cut, but the marketer called to applaud Bates' aggressiveness.
Such a bold move did work the second time around. Mr. Clark heard that executives from a particular marketer were in New York to interview a preselected list of agencies. He got a cell phone number for one of the executives and made an empassioned plea to include Bates on the list.
The executive agreed to visit Bates' offices, professing the meeting would be futile. That evening, over a few Heinekins, Mr. Clark and his team made their case. Some thirty minutes later, the executive asked: "What are guys doing tomorrow at 12:30?"
Bates was in.
"One of the most motivating things about my job is [that] while there is actually a lot to do in terms of selling Bates, the raw material is all there. It's just in the way you present it," Mr. Clark said.
Growing up in a suburb north of London, he scarcely could have guessed where he'd be today. Of the more than 1,000 people who graduated from his high school every year, only a dozen or so pursued higher education.
He convinced his plumber father and bookkeeper mother to allow him to attend university, on full scholarship, where he majored in chemical physics at the University of Southampton. By 1980, Mr. Clark was on his way to a post-graduate job in Colorado, where he planned to study organic molecules in gas clouds in space.
But a summer internship at the Royal Institution of Great Britain derailed those plans. The institution decided it needed to market itself, and the task of creating the marketing plan fell to Mr. Clark. Amidst compiling brochures and sales materials for the institution, he found his passion.
During his years in London, he was hired by Eastman Kodak Co.'s technical marketing department, and later moved to Levi Strauss & Co. Mr. Clark first joined the agency side at Lintas in London, then went on to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and, in 1988, joined Saatchi & Saatchi. Seven years later, he was hired at Bates Dorland as managing director.
In January 1998, Bates brought him to New York to oversee the Avis Rent A Car System account, which he will continue to do.
"I'm hoping to go back to the U.K. in three years having been part of a