Jen Neal Heads to BBDO

Former PHD managing partner Jen Neal is heading to BBDO to replace Mark Goldstein as chief marketing officer for North America.

Neal, who starts June 1, will join a regional management team that includes chairman and chief creative officer David Lubars and deputy chairman Troy Ruhanen. She’ll be based in New York — where John Osborn is president and CEO — and report to Lubars and Ruhanen.

In making the hire, Lubars cited Neal’s familiarity with BBDO via past joint pitches with PHD and her diverse experience, having worked at a media shop, client side (This Old House, NBA/WNBA) and at a smaller creative agency (Arnell).

“It gives her a broader perspective,” Lubars said.

Goldstein, 62, had been CMO since he joined the Omnicom Group agency in 2005. In 2006, he added the secondary title of vice chairman of North America. Goldstein remains vice chairman and going forward will contribute to major pitches and train colleagues in business development, albeit from his home in Naples, Fla.

Neal, 37, arrives as BBDO’s U.S. operation looks to rebound from a lackluster 2009 that was defined more by a major account loss (Chrysler) than a marquee new business win.

In pitches, the shop’s offices in San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago won business clients like Harrah’s, Georgia Power and Illinois Lottery, while New York won LexisNexis, Six Flags (project), Business Roundtable, Procter & Gamble (Future Friendly), Johnson & Johnson (wellness) and Mars’ Nutro. New York lost contests for Delta and three pharmaceutical brands.

Arguably, the shop did better outside of reviews, adding new assignments from existing clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Mars, Bayer and J&J.

Beyond the growth imperative, Neal faces the challenge of crossing over to a large creative network. She spent nearly four years at the New York office of Omnicom’s PHD, helping to land the likes of Hyatt and New Balance.

Neal left PHD at the end of 2008, after PHD filled its U.S. CEO position with Scott Hagedorn. Neal was believed to be among the candidates for the CEO job.

Before PHD, Neal was a brand and ad marketing director at Time Inc.’s This Old House and a group account director at Omnicom’s Arnell in New York.

Earlier in her career, she was a senior director of marketing partnerships at the NBA/WNBA.
Beyond Hyatt and New Balance, Neal’s client experience ranges from the Discovery Networks and HBO to Reebok, Enterprise Rent a Car and Timex. Since leaving PHD, she has worked as a freelance consultant.

At BBDO, Neal said she looked forward to working with executives she knows from past pitches. “It’s the right fit and chemistry with these guys,” she said. “There’s a total familiarity.”