Mr. Whelchel, 38, will focus on three areas for Y&R: finding and recruiting executives for the agency's 182 offices worldwide, and developing a new corporate exchange program that will allow employees to move into jobs in other disciplines and geographies.
"It'll be a formalized system to allow senior management to work with agency executives and move them into different positions for 18 to 24 months," Mr. Whelchel said.
He is also responsible for implementing the agency's talent management programs focused on finding, retaining and promoting minority candidates. Y&R was one of 16 New York agencies that signed a memorandum of understanding last September agreeing to improve its diversity-hiring practices.
Y&R is Mr. Whelchel's second agency recruitment job. At TBWA, he recruited executives at all levels. Among his coups were luring account executive Tony Kuhn from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe to run Nissan at TBWA and staffing the agency's Nashville, Tenn., office by persuading employees from the Los Angeles office to move.
"Many of these folks had never been to the South," Mr. Whelchel, who was born in Birmingham, Ala.
Passion for recruiting
"I got into recruiting because it offers the opportunity to reach out and make an impact on someone else's life," Mr. Whelchel said. "For me, the best thing in the world is to get what seems like an impossible search."
He reports to Bill Manfredi, exec VP-global talent management, and replaces Ken Brown, VP-global talent management, who has left the agency.