Execs & Accounts for October 18, 2004

LookSmart named David Hills CEO, effective October 25. Hills succeeds Damian Smith, who served as interim CEO since January. Hills comes to Looksmart from 24/7 Real Media, where he’s served as president, media solutions, since August, 2003. Prior to 24/7 Real Media, he was COO and president of sales for About, owner of About.com and Sprinks. Earlier, he held a number of positions at Cox Enterprises, and at TV ad sales firm Telerep, a Cox division.

“With the company’s restructuring efforts completed successfully, and a focused plan for returning to operating profitability,” said Hills, “LookSmart is in great shape to grow and expand its business, taking advantage of a very robust search marketplace.”

Terri Dial, chairman of LookSmart’s board of directors, thanked Damian Smith for his interim leadership. Smith will return to his native Australia.

Interactive marketing agency AKQA is opening a New York office and has placed Danish creative director Lars Bastholm at its helm. Bastholm, whose title will be executive creative director, was most recently creative director at European agency Framfab, where he worked with clients such as Nike, Coca-Cola, LEGO and Carlsberg. Prior to Framfab, Bastholm launched the Grey Interactive office in Scandinavia working on leading brands such as SAS Airlines and Microsoft. Bastholm has also served as the Internet jury chairman for the Clio Awards in 2004.

“New York is the center of the advertising industry, and as a global agency it makes sense for AKQA to launch an office in New York. Our goal is to attract additional global brands, such as Nike and Visa,” said Tom Bedecarre, CEO of AKQA. “With the establishment of this office and the appointment of Lars Bastholm as executive creative director, we’re in a great position to pursue new clients and service our existing East Coast clients also.”

With the New York office, AKQA will have five offices and 317 employees worldwide. In 2004, the company expects to have $275 million in billings and $41 million in revenues.

Sean Finnegan, formerly Midwest director of OMD Digital, has been named director of OMD Digital in the United States, a new post.

Finnigan will oversee OMD’s U.S. digital media efforts for its clients, including search engine marketing, cross-platform promotions, interactive television and gaming. He will be based in Chicago and will report to Kathleen Brookbanks, managing director of OMD Midwest.

“The ever-changing and growing digital world represents a unique opportunity,” said Brookbanks. “We’re pleased to have Sean lead us in this field and help us continue on our strong growth path. Over the last two years, Sean has been instrumental in adding such high profile clients such as Dell, United Airlines Loyalty and McDonald’s to make OMD Digital one of the top ranked companies in the U.S.”

Finnegan joined OMD in 2002 from Tribal DDB where he was media director of the Chicago office.

News and information site MSNBC.com promoted Kyoo Kim to vice president of sales, and raised Moritz Loew to the position of East Coast sales manager.

Kim was formerly director of ad sales for MSNBC.com, and has been with the company for over three years. He will lead ad sales efforts, including development of new revenue channels.

Loew will move to New York to represent MSNBC.com. Previously, he worked for sister site MSN in Redmond, Wash. His job will be generating new business opportunities, collaborating with the MSN sales force and representing MSNBC.com within the New York advertising community.

“Kyoo has provided great momentum for MSNBC.com in the past three years,” said Charlie Tillinghast, general manager and publisher of MSNBC.com. “Under his leadership our ad revenues have grown tremendously. His ability to build and maintain strong relationships across the sales chain, rapid response to requests, and creative advertising ideas was a key factor in selecting Kyoo for this role.”

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