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Chiat/Day Defines Who's the Boss : LOS ANGELES COUNTY

September 06, 1987|BRUCE HOROVITZ

The Los Angeles ad firm Chiat/Day has long had a reputation among its clients for two things: great ads--and, occasionally, organizational chaos.

Now, however, it faces the demands of its giant new client Nissan--that in one fell swoop last month doubled the billings of the firm's Los Angeles office. As a result, Chiat/Day announced on Friday a string of management changes that more carefully define who's the boss. For the first time, the agency named chief executives at each of its three offices.

Key among them, Bob Wolf, 45, current general manager of the agency's New York office, has been named president and chief executive of the Los Angeles office. At the same time, Chairman Jay Chiat, 55, will assume control of the New York office as president and chief executive. And Fred Goldberg, 46, currently chief operating officer at Chiat/Day, has been named president and chief executive of the San Francisco office.

"Our goal isn't just to do good work for Nissan, but to do good work for all of our clients," said Lee Clow, the agency president and executive creative director of all three shops. He said the agency will hire about 80 new workers to handle the $150-million Nissan account, which the agency picked up last month.

"There will be all kinds of speculation in the press about why we're rejuggling our management," said Clow in an interview, "but we felt that we should have the strongest team in position to handle this growth."

Wolf is no stranger to Los Angeles. Before joining Chiat/Day in 1983, he was senior vice president and general manager of West Coast office of Kenyon & Eckhardt--now Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt. In New York, he oversaw the growth of an office with $10 million in billings and 20 employees, to its current level of $125 million in billings and 135 employees.

Now, however, Wolf has been called in to oversee the firm's biggest office, with more than 200 workers and more than $300 million in billings. "I'm not going to go in there and make over the office," said Wolf, in a telephone interview. "I'll take a hard look before I make any changes."

Although Nissan is a "tremendously important piece of business," he said, "I won't be spending every minute of every day on it."

The agency is quick to boast that as a result of Wolf's transfer to Los Angeles, it has named the first woman general manager of a Chiat/Day office. Wolf's replacement in New York is 39-year-old Jane Newman. Company executives say that she is pegged to eventually become chief executive of the New York office--and could possibly rise to Chiat/Day's very top ranks.

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