DETROIT -- Garry Neel says he was shocked to discover that key executives of the McCann Erickson advertising agency who handle General Motors accounts worldwide had never gathered to share ideas.
Neel, 49, who became McCann's first worldwide account director for GM nine months ago, was in a position to change that. McCann is the automaker's biggest global advertising agency partner.
In January, Neel assembled the GM network's 40 top executives in Detroit. They brainstormed best advertising practices for the automaker.
"I needed to evaluate the level of resources we had around the world on the GM business and look where we needed additional strength and build on key learnings," Neel says.
Neel also heads McCann's office in the Detroit suburb of Troy, Mich., as executive vice president and managing director.
Neel says "there weren't too many weak areas" in the network's GM offices. But he concedes he smoothed out "a rocky period" in a market he refused to identify. His solution? Hiring fresh blood.
"We made a huge turnaround in the relationship," he says.