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Reorganizes San Francisco Office as 'Global Creative Center'

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- In an effort to elevate its West Coast presence into what it calls "a major global creative center," Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson Worldwide has shifted control of Microsoft's estimated $100 million Xbox advertising account from New York to its San Francisco office, the agency said.
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As part of the shift, Courtney Buechert, the general manager of the San Francisco office, becomes "global leader" on the account. He also will head McCann's expansion of its TAG division into San Francisco.

Future China business
The expanded office, with billings of almost $1 billion, will be a large-scale operation in close proximity to the Redmond, Wash., headquarters of its core Microsoft Corp. client. McCann has had the Microsoft account for 10 years and handles the tech giant's ad work in some 40 countries. At the same time, the San Francisco shop is being positioned as a gateway to business in the future from China and other Asian nations.

The move is noteworthy because it is unusual for an East Coast-headquartered multinational agency to view its West Coast operation as anything other than a secondary branch office.

New global chief executive
McCann's repositioning began in February with the hiring of Matt Ross as McCann's global chief executive on all Microsoft brands and as president of McCann Worldgroup in San Francisco. Mr. Ross was formerly chief operating officer on the IBM brand services worldwide account that’s handled by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York.

John McNeil, another top Ogilvy executive on the IBM business, has joined McCann’s San Francisco office and shares lead creative duties with Jeff Huggins. Each has the title of executive vice president and co-chief creative officer.

Creative hires
Simultaneously, the agency has hired five executives. From Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, are creative directors Scott Duchon, 35, and Geoff Edwards, 36, named group creative directors on Xbox; and Mike Harris, 39, formerly TBWA’s strategy director who will be McCann’s strategy director for Xbox, Microsoft’s video-game console.

Other creatives joining the agency to work on Microsoft are Gerald Lewis, 30, formerly group creative director at Ogilvy, New York, and Chris Toland, 39, group creative director from Publicis Groupe’s Fallon/West Wing in Los Angeles.

In addition to Microsoft, other accounts handled out of San Francisco include Applied Materials, California Table Grapes, Del Monte, General Motors California project, Hitachi, Hotwire, Mike's Hard Lemonade and Southcorp Wines North America.

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