'DaVinci' Gets Creative, Still Needs CEO

WPP's Dell-Dedicated Agency Taps Ken Segall for Senior-Level Role

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Dell and WPP Group have made the first hiring news for the computer-maker's custom-built new agency, tapping a veteran with experience on Apple and Intel in a senior creative role. The companies, however, have not yet landed a CEO, despite passing the self-imposed March 1 deadline for getting the agency up and running.

Ken Segall has been named executive creative director of the new WPP marketing agency dedicated to handling the $4.5 billion Dell global account, said Casey Jones, Dell VP-global marketing, who confirmed the hire in an e-mail.

Shop's launch delayed
Details on the new shop, code-named DaVinci, have been slow to come, although initially it has been expected that the new agency with more than 1,000 staffers was to be up and running by the first of the month. Dell and WPP have yet to announce who will be the agency's CEO, though executives familiar with the matter said an offer has been extended to one candidate. One of those executives said the delay in getting a deal done has been frustrating because it has bogged down the hiring process.

Mitch Caplan, Y&R's chief marketing officer and a key figure in WPP's successful pitch for three-year contract, has been acting CEO for the transition team. Besides the identity of the CEO, the name of the agency and other details about its structure have not been announced.

Mr. Segall build his reputation at TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., where he was involved with the award-winning "Think Different" campaign that heralded the comeback of Apple CEO Steve Jobs when he returned to the iconic computer company he founded. Mr. Segall subsequently worked for Havas' Euro RSCG on Intel.

Neither Messrs. Segall and Caplan nor a spokesman for WPP returned calls and e-mails seeking comment by press time.

WPP won the business over Interpublic Group of Cos. in a highly contested review. The agency presently known as DaVinci will be initially dedicated to handling Dell's marketing services but will eventually be allowed to service other clients.
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