CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Havas' Euro RSCG has named veteran ad executive Ron Bess its North American president, filling a post that's been open since Esther Lee departed the agency 10 months ago.
Mr. Bess, 61, who has served as Euro's chief operating officer in the region since 2008, will remain CEO of the network's Chicago office, which he's helped to steer from near closure to steady growth since taking over in 2004. He will report directly to global CEO David Jones, who is based in New York. Ron Berger remains the agency's North American chairman.
Mr. Bess will be charged with keeping the network on a growth track. According to Ad Age estimates, Euro's 2008 U.S. revenue climbed 5.5%, to $342.7 million.
Mr. Bess founded Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, a Chicago agency best remembered for its iconic Gatorade work. The shop was ultimately acquired by FCB Worldwide, which Mr. Bess later led as president. As a managing director of Needham Harper & Steers (now DDB Worldwide), he led the agency's McDonald's account and was instrumental in luring Budweiser to the agency. He also served as CEO of Y&R, New York, prior to joining Euro as CEO of its then-struggling Chicago office, which has grown in recent years thanks to a mix of above and below-the-line work for the likes of Sprint Nextel, Kraft, Valspar Paints and the now-shuttered Circuit City.
"Ron has done a fantastic job for us over the past five years, building Chicago's fastest growing major agency, driving our digital at the core strategy and contributing to a very good year for North America in 2008," Mr. Jones said in a statement. "This is really recognition of the role he has been playing for the last 12 months."
Mr. Bess will fill a leadership void left by Ms. Lee, a former Coca-Cola executive who left the agency last September after barely a year at the helm because of what insiders called a poor "cultural fit." She has since resurfaced at AT&T, where she oversees brand marketing, creative and media strategy.