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Euro RSCG/Chicago tries a co-presidency with King and Schwartz

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King Head Shot.jpgEuro RSCG/Chicago CEO Ron Bess is putting not one, but two agency presidents in place at his agency. He is promoting Joy Schwartz, an executive director and an eight-year veteran at the shop, to the post of co-president, and Bess is bringing in Jamie King, formerly president and CEO of Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, to work alongside Schwartz as co-president. Both will report to Bess.

If recent history is any indication, co-presidencies are a dicey proposition at any ad agency. Leo Burnett Worldwide CEO Tom Bernardin tried such a structure a couple of years ago, and it was a bomb. He brought in Juan Carlos Ortiz from Burnett's Latin American operations to manage alongside Rich Stoddart. Both even sat at desks in the same office. But Ortiz was gone within a year.

A Euro RSCG spokesman insisted King was being brought in to the Chicago agency on his own merits, but King's past ties to Euro RSCG Chief Creative Officer Steffan Postaer can't be discounted as a major factor in King getting the job. Together they ran the Burnett unit known as LB Works, which was eventually dismantled -- a move that did not sit well with Postaer. Both he and King quickly departed Burnett after LB Works was dissolved. Postaer wound up at Euro, and King headed west to Publicis & Hal Riney.

Under the new management arrangement at Euro RSCG, King will focus on new business development, while Schwartz deals with clients and agency operational matters. Schwartz has spent the majority of her years at Euro RSCG working with clients such as Sprint and Citi, which use the agency for direct marketing efforts.

No doubt having King around will make Postaer feel as if he has turned back the clock a bit to a time when he and King happily tended to their own little fiefdom at Leo Burnett.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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