BzzAgent President Dave Dugan Moves to Arnold

In New Role, Will Focus on M&A and Client Growth Management

By Published on .

Word-of -mouth and social-media specialist BzzAgent is losing its president, Dave Dugan, to Boston-based Arnold Worldwide.

Dave Dugan, CCO, Arnold Worldwide
Dave Dugan, CCO, Arnold Worldwide

Havas-owned Arnold has appointed Mr. Dugan to a new post, one that heralds the arrival of yet another new title in adland: chief commercial officer. Mr. Dugan starts next month and will report to Andrew Benett, global CEO of Arnold Worldwide and global chief strategy officer of Havas Worldwide.

The move follows U.K. retailer Tesco's acquisition of BzzAgent, a deal in which Mr. Dugan played a central role.

Asked to explain the role of a chief commercial officer within an ad agency, Mr. Benett said: "Clients have this title of chief commercial officer ... and I didn't want a chief growth officer title, which is just about growing the agency. The reason why he is a chief commercial officer is because his role is of a commercial nature for us and for our clients. For us, it's building existing offers -- like an analytics group and social-media group -- and buying new ones and integrating them into our business. Outwardly, he's going to be a consultant for clients, helping them grow their business. He can go to the Fidelitys and Volvos of the world and say, 'How can we help you grow your business?' And it's more of a value added element to the agency."

The two execs began talking about nine months ago about the potential of Mr. Dugan joining Arnold , but the talks escalated following the closure of BzzAgent's Tesco deal.

For Mr. Dugan, the move means returning to working at an agency under a large holding company. Before he joined BzzAgent in 2008, he spent a dozen years at Digitas, where he held a number of senior roles, including senior VP-corporate strategy, reporting to then-CEO David Kenny. He began his career as an analyst for Gemini Consulting/MAC Group.

"I'm excited to bring my experience in digital and social into the fold," said Mr. Dugan in a statement. "Clients are demanding that their agencies bring them faster, more innovative solutions." His hire is part of a wave of bulking up on digital talent Arnold has undertaken over the past 18 months. During that time its added some 60 digital specialists, among them Global Chief Digital Officer Matt Howell, formerly president at now-shuttered Modernista.

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