Former C&W exec lured back to agency life

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ: John Frew, who departed Cohn & Wolfe eight months ago during an overhaul of the firm's executive hierarchy (PRWeek, Sept. 20, 1999), has resurfaced at The MWW Group.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ: John Frew, who departed Cohn & Wolfe eight months ago during an overhaul of the firm's executive hierarchy (PRWeek, Sept. 20, 1999), has resurfaced at The MWW Group.

Frew, formerly C&W's New York vice chairman, has just finalized a new contract at MWW as COO and national director of client services. In his new position, he will be involved in everything from administration to direct client oversight.

Frew left C&W last year during a reorganization that also saw the departures of Los Angeles CEO Chris Wildermuth and Atlanta vice chairman Jim Overstreet.

Overstreet eventually joined Bob Cohn - the 'C' in C&W - at Atlanta-based marketing firm 360, while Wildermuth became the first director of corporate communications at tech vendor JNI Corp. in San Diego.

Frew said that after spending 19 years in the PR industry (including 11 years at C&W), he needed a break from the action. 'I did some consulting and got my handicap down,' he said, adding that he flirted with the idea of starting a sports and special-events firm. 'I wasn't about to go into another agency,' he said, but a meeting with MWW president and CEO Michael Kempner convinced him to return to the agency fray.

Though MWW is one of the fastest-growing independent agencies (reporting 57% growth last year), it trails C&W in terms of size and clout. Frew, however, praised MWW's decision-making structure, which he described as less bureaucratic than most agencies.

'It's so refreshing,' he said. 'If I have an idea, I can just walk into Michael's office with it. Good, bad - it doesn't matter. You know very quickly where you stand.'

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