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PUBLICIS & HAL RINEY PRESIDENT TO LEAVE

Kirk Souder Joined Agency in 2003

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- The president and executive creative director of legendary San Francisco ad agency Publicis & Hal Riney is leaving.
Kirk Souder will be replaced by two co-executive creative directors.
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Was Co-Founder of Ground Zero

A spokesman for the agency said Kirk Souder, who joined the Publicis Groupe shop in April 2003, will be replaced by group creative directors Jon Soto, 43, and Jae Goodman, 34, who will take over as co-executive creative directors.

Masters degree in psychology
The spokeswoman said Mr. Souder was leaving to pursue a masters degree in psychology.

Publicis & Hal Riney, with billings of $750 million, in October named Karen Frances chairman -CEO.

Mr. Souder, a former founding partner in independent Los Angeles shop Ground Zero, took a leave of absence from Ground Zero in July 2001. Mr. Souder joined Publicis & Hal Riney as the agency was going through a change of leadership. Scott Marshall was the agency's president after the shop's founder, Hal Riney, stepped aside as chairman of the shop in June 2002, becoming chairman emeritus; Mr. Marshall also headed the shop's creative teams before Mr. Souder filled that role. (Mr. Marshall resigned a few months later.) At the time, the agency said Mr. Souder was being positioned as Mr. Riney's successor.

Sprint consolidation
During Mr. Souder's tenure, Sprint consolidated its account at the shop, giving the agency an additional $70 million to $100 million in billings. The agency also won a number of smaller accounts, including those of 24 Hour Fitness, Jamba Juice Co., Shopping.com, and Beringer Brothers Wine Estates, and lost two accounts, North Face and Siebel Systems.

Riney was also a finalists for a number of high-profile accounts -- most recently in Charles Schwab Corp.'s $95 million review -- but ultimately came up short.

The agency's two anchor accounts are for Hewlett-Packard, which it shares with Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and Sprint Corp. Reports today indicate sprint is close to completing a merger with Nextel. Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day is Nextel's agency.

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