Dieste in Search of a CEO

Omnicom Hispanic Agency Seeks to Fill Slot Vacated by Co-founder Warren Harmel

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Omnicom Group is looking for a new CEO for its biggest U.S. Hispanic agency, Dieste Harmel & Partners, following a behind-the-scenes restructuring.
Co-founder Warren Harmel left in late 2007.
Co-founder Warren Harmel left in late 2007.

No announcement was made when CEO Warren Harmel, a co-founder of the Dallas-based agency with Tony Dieste in 1995, quietly left in late 2007. Mr. Harmel still appears on the company's website as the agency's CEO.

Carmen Baez
Omnicom's Carmen Baez is leading the search for a new CEO and has been spending time at the agency's Dallas headquarters. Ms. Baez, a Spanish speaker of Puerto Rican heritage, is president of Omnicom's Latin America Diversified Agency Services division and also oversees the DAS's multicultural efforts in the U.S. market. She negotiated Omnicom's acquisition of 49% of Hispanic agency LatinWorks, based in Austin, Texas, in May 2006.

Ms. Baez wouldn't comment on when Dieste Harmel will have a new CEO or who it might be.

"I'm just focused on finding the right, right person," Ms. Baez said.

Mr. Harmel could not be reached for comment. Ms. Baez said he retired.

Aldo Quevedo, who was promoted to president-chief creative officer in August 2006 from managing partner and executive creative director, is not believed to be a contender for the CEO job.

Sign of trouble?
Hispanic agency executives say they have noticed that they have been getting an unusually high number of résumés from Dieste employees since late 2007 and regard that as a sign of some leadership challenges at the agency.

"You wonder why you're getting so many résumés in one week [from the same agency]," said one Hispanic-agency executive.

Dieste Harmel is the third-largest U.S. Hispanic agency, with 2006 revenue of $38.5 million, according to Ad Age's Hispanic agency ranking.

The agency is losing one of its largest accounts, JC Penney, which went into review this month and is worth up to $40 million. Other big accounts at the agency include AT&T, Western Union, PepsiCo and Clorox.
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