McCann Taps Hank Summy for North American President Post

Grabs SapientNitro Exec as Massive Overhaul in Senior Talent Continues

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Hank Summy
Hank Summy

McCann Erickson is recasting its North American leadership team and has recruited Hank Summy, most recently head of SapientNitro's New York office, to join as president of McCann North America.

The hire replaces the position left vacant when Robert LePlae departed the agency last month.

While Mr. LePlae was not granted oversight of the flagship New York office, which is run by former Verizon account-man Thom Gruhler, Mr. Summy, in contrast, has been asked by McCann to concentrate on New York right out the gate. Asked whether Mr. Summy's hire impacts Mr. Gruhler's role, McCann Worldgroup CEO Nick Brien told Ad Age : there's "no change to Thom's status."

The Interpublic Group of Cos. agency said Mr. Summy will officially come on board next month, and his initial focus will be improving performance at the New York office, working closely with top creative Linus Karlsson. He'll also be responsible for regional McCann offices in eight cities across the U.S. and Canada.

In his time at SapientNitro, Mr. Summy worked in several different roles and was part of the team that led the integration of Sapient and creative agency Nitro two years ago. Prior to that he worked for a company called SR Research. McCann chief Mr. Brien--to whom Mr. Summy will report--says he first learned of Mr. Summy by observing him speak at conferences, and then got to know him better through a lengthy interviewing process. A total of about 20 candidates were in consideration for the role.

Also promoted to a new post is Patrick Lafferty, who after a year as managing director of global brands is being made chief operating officer of McCann North America. Eric Keshin, who after thirty years left McCann and now works at Hewlett-Packard, had been chief operating officer of McCann NY and later COO of McCann Worldgroup, but there's never been a North American COO. Mr. Lafferty has a varied background. He's served as chief marketing officer at Travel Channel, a U.S. Army commander and an account man at Leo Burnett.

"Hank has deep understanding and experience with modern day marketing whilst possessing the spirit of an entrepreneurial leader necessary to accelerate the transformation of all our North American agencies," said Mr. Brien in a statement. "He has successfully built technology-marketing businesses that have all achieved double digital growth and deep levels of client satisfaction. Pat is the ideal partner for him, having proven himself to be a highly effective leader across many of our most complex global accounts."

The moves are a sign that Mr. Brien--in the face of the formidable task of executing a turnaround of McCann Worldgroup, Interpublic's biggest agency--wants a team of leaders beneath him to oversee different regions of the world. In Europe, that would be Gustavo Martinez, brought in earlier this year to replace Brett Gosper . In Latin America, that would be Luca Linder, who's been running the region. And now, in North America, that responsibility will fall to Mr. Summy.

In the wake of Mr. Summy's departure, SapientNitro is promoting three employees: Brad Simms was made senior VP-managing director of North America West and Central, while Ron Shamah, who had been leading business development in New York, was been promoted to VP-managing director of New York. Bob Van Beber was given a newly created role and assumes responsibility for all delivery and operations for marketing services work in North America.

Said SapientNitro executive VP-managing director for North America Alan Wexler in a statement: "They are tremendous assets of our company and, as the team driving our growth in North America, will continue to propel our business forward. I look forward to seeing their leadership and influence continue. I wish Hank the best as he pursues other opportunities."

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