W. B. Doner, a Baltimore-based advertising agency, is dramatically expanding its European operations and sending one of its top executives, Donald Riesett, to head its London office.
The expansion is aimed at capitalizing on Doner's recent acquisition of the European advertising account for Chiquita Banana Co. B.V., giving it a lock on Chiquita's worldwide advertising. But Doner believes the potential for its international operations goes far beyond bananas.
"This is a major change in the way we run W. B. Doner," said Herbert D. Fried, the chairman of Doner's executive committee. "We're recognizing that part of our future is tied in with expansion overseas. We feel it's very important to have a senior member of the executive committee located in Europe."
Doner now operates six foreign offices -- including a London office that opened in 1987. But Mr. Riesett, who has worked for Doner for 13 years, will be the first of the six members of the agency's executive committee to move abroad.
Of the $425 million in annual revenues generated by Doner, $100 million comes from its work overseas. The agency hopes to double its foreign operations within five years, Mr. Riesett said yesterday.
In expanding its operation in Europe and beyond, Doner is doing what many major U.S. ad agencies are doing, said Scott Hume, Chicago bureau chief for the trade magazine Advertising Age.
Doner now has offices in London; Brussels, Belgium; Canada and Australia.
"Most major agencies have become multinational as their clients are becoming more multinational," Mr. Hume said.
Mr. Riesett, who was named president of Doner International in June, will work out of Doner's London office, where he will head Doner's operations outside North America.
Besides the agency's new European contract with Chiquita Brands, Doner has several other major contracts involving international work, including arrangements with BP Oil International and Clarke Foods, an ice cream manufacturer.
Doner has been handling advertising for Chiquita since 1972, said Amy Elias, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Mr. Riesett joined Doner from the New York advertising agency Benton & Bowles (now called DMB&B), where he had worked for 10 years.
At that agency, he worked on a variety of accounts, including Procter & Gamble, General Foods, Richardson-Vicks and Avis Rent-a-Car.
He joined Doner in 1979 as an account supervisor. In 1982, he was named account director and a partner in the agency.
In 1987, Mr. Riesett was named director of account management overseeing all the accounts of Doner's Baltimore office. In that job, he oversaw the handling of such Doner accounts as Commercial Credit, ERA Real Estate, Klondike Ice Cream, McCormick & Co. and Maryland National Bank.
He became Doner's vice chairman in 1990.