Media Exec Bruce Silverman Sought Role as an 'Advertising Guy'

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Independent shop Wongdoody has hired longtime Los Angeles adman Bruce Silverman as president of its Los Angeles office.

Wongdoody’s managing partner and co-owner, Ben Wiener, 30, who opened the Los Angeles office in 1997, said he will continue to work out of the office but will focus on strategy for clients and on development.

Mr. Wiener, who opened the Los Angeles agency in 1997, is one of three owners in the Seattle-based shop, along with Tracy Wong, creative director, chairman and founding partner, and Pat Doody, president and founding partner.

President-CEO of Initiative Partners
Mr. Silverman, 56, is president-CEO

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of Initiative Partners, which focuses on buying media for the clients of independent agencies. Initiative Partners is a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Initiative Media North America. Mr. Silverman has worked at agencies such as BBDO Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and Bozell & Jacobs. For 11 years, he was with now defunct independent shop Asher/Gould Advertising.

Mr. Silverman said he was pitching Wongdoody at a lunch meetng with Mr. Wiener when Mr. Wiener asked for suggestions on candidates to take over the office. Mr. Silverman said he decided to take the job.

“I’m basically an advertising guy and media is a subset” of the business, he said. “I will be playing the whole game, rather than being a place kicker.”

Year of change
The move caps a year of change for Wongdoody. This fall, it formed a strategic alliance with Dallas independent Gilliatt/Paris. Earlier this year, it opened a public relations unit to provide more integrated offerings.

Clients in the Los Angeles office, with 16 employees, include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clif Bars, Alpine Electronics, and MGM Home Entertainment, Mr. Wiener said. Wongdoody’s primary clients include Alaska Airlines, T-Mobile, Sierra Online and Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, Ore.

$75 million total billings
Wongdoody claims total billings of $75 million with 60 employees.

Meanwhile, Initiative Media is reshuffling its management ranks following Mr. Silverman's departure. Randy Bixler has been named president of Initiative Partners, replacing Mr. Silverman. Rich Simms, currently executive vice president and general manager for the Southeast region, will move to Los Angeles as executive vice president and general manager of the Western region. Rob Claxton replaces Mr. Simms.

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