Hooper assumes key job at Trahan, Burden

Ex-Doner executive, national consultant becomes chairman


June 20, 2000|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

William Hooper, a former Doner executive, assumed the chairmanship yesterday of Trahan, Burden & Charles Inc., the Baltimore advertising and public relations firm, where he will be responsible for new business initiatives and account management.

Hooper replaced Robert Matz, who had relinquished his day-to-day management duties a year ago to concentrate on lining up strategic opportunities for TBC on the West Coast. Matz recently decided to quit the agency.

Hooper did consulting for TBC before being offered a permanent position.

For the past year, daily management responsibilities at TBC were shared by Sandra S. Hillman, vice chairman and chief executive officer, and Allan Charles, president and chief creative officer, who founded the agency in 1974.

"We're starting a new era in the agency with a leader who will make a big difference in terms of the culture of the agency and the personality both inside and outside the agency," said Hillman.

"He brings years of experience in the business, but he's not locked into the way business used to be done. The gift he brings to us is knowing what the best advertising practice is from both the agency side and what clients want."

Hooper, 63, said yesterday that he looked forward to being back at an advertising agency.

"When I came in to work at TBC as a consultant, I had no intention of leaving consulting," said the Baltimore native. "I got back here, and I liked it. It reminded me of the old days of working at Doner when it was fun."

Hooper started as an account executive at Doner in 1965 and served as president of the Baltimore office for six years, beginning in 1984. Among his accounts were McCormick & Co. Inc., Bell Atlantic Corp., Sherwin-Williams Paint Co., Scott Paper Co. and Klondike ice cream, he said.

He then left Doner to form W. E. Hooper & Associates, becoming one of about two dozen consultants in the country who help major companies select advertising agencies.

Hooper worked with top management at John Hancock, ConAgra, and Tropicana to help them improve their relationships with advertising agencies and evaluate their work.

Hooper is a good marketing strategist, according to Arthur Anderson, a managing principal at Morgan Anderson Consulting in New York, where Hooper also served as a principal.

"I think Bill has an incredible understanding of what it takes from a client point of view for an agency to do its best work," he said. "He translates that into action and solutions."

Al Martin, director of strategic consulting at BBDO Worldwide in New York, said he thinks Hooper will be a good fit at Trahan.

"It's an agency that's underleveraged," he said. "It has great potential. It needs to break out of the local/regional agency mindset, and Bill is just the ticket for that."

Trahan has doubled its public relations business in the past year, helped by two new satellite offices, Hillman said. The agency's New York office celebrated its first anniversary June 9, while the Washington office becomes a year old in August.

"They've exceeded our expectations," Hillman said. "We expected them not to make money in the first year, but both of them have. We've gotten clients we couldn't have gotten without offices in each of those cities."

Among TBC's new accounts are Regus, a British international provider of instant offices, and Getintegrated.com, a Baltimore human resources outsourcing company. Billings were not immediately available.

There is an unusual twist to Hooper's arrival at Trahan, because it brings to fruition an offer first made years ago.

"When we formed TBC in 1974, I asked Bill to come," Charles said. "But, we were young creative guys, and Bill was really part of the establishment at Doner then. I guess it was just the wrong century."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.