Durham advertising agency McKinney has promoted a new president from within to replace Jeff Jones, who departed to become chief marketing officer of retail giant Target.
McKinney CEO Brad Brinegar said Jones being scooped up by Target was a coup for the agency, an endorsement of its creative work for clients such as Nationwide Insurance, Lenovo and Sherwin-Williams.
“I get to see Jeff Jones leave us for the best marketing job in America,” he said.
At the same time, Brinegar expects the agency to maintain its forward progress with its new president, John Newall.
“One of our strengths is the depth of our bench,” Brinegar said. “This may be a little earlier than John expected it, but we were thinking about him in this role for a long time.”
Newall, 44, joined McKinney in 2005 as group account director from ad agency Publicis in New York, where he worked with clients such as Vivendi Universal and BMW.
Minneapolis-based Target, which has 1,765 stores nationwide and also sells online through Target.com, announced Monday that it named Jones as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. The appointment of Jones, 44, who joined McKinney as president in 2006, took effect immediately.
Jones is no stranger to the corporate marketing side. He was executive vice president of global marketing at clothing retailer Gap prior to joining McKinney.
McKinney, by far the largest ad agency in the Triangle, enjoyed record growth during Jones’ tenure. His responsibilities at McKinney included attracting new business and overseeing relationships with clients.
“He’s also a great proponent of emerging technology,” Brinegar said. “We’ve been ahead of the curve on digital for a long time, and Jeff has helped us stay ahead by pushing our innovation initiatives.”
Target is not a McKinney client, and Brinegar side-stepped questions about whether the agency would seek to go after Target’s business now that Jones is in charge of marketing.
As for Newall, Brinegar called him a great leader.
“He’s a calm guy in the eye of the storm who not only gets great marks from his own people but clients as well,” he said. “... He’s the perfect candidate to follow in Jeff’s shoes.”
Newall said he was “deliriously excited” about his new role.
“I’m not here to fix anything because we’re already an exceptionally good agency,” he said. “My challenge will be to continue doing what we’re already doing better every day.”
A native of the United Kingdom, Newall is a graduate of the University of Hertfordshire Business School.
President is one of the top three management positions at McKinney. The others are CEO and chief creative officer, a role filled by Jonathan Cude.
McKinney’s revenue soared 41.5 percent to a record $40 million in 2010, but fell six percent last year to $37.4 million.
Revenue suffered after one of the agency’s big clients, telecommunications company Qwest, was acquired. In addition, McKinney and real estate firm Coldwell Banker mutually agreed to end their relationship.
However, since September it has won four new clients – retailer GNC; the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain; sports equipment and apparel maker Mizuno USA; and Meijer, a Michigan-based grocery and superstore chain with 197 outlets – that offset those client losses. Brinegar said he expects revenue to rise this year.
Today McKinney has about 200 workers in Durham, down from a recent peak of 230, a reduction that Brinegar said was achieved through attrition.