Burson builds on regional plan with Arkatov addition

LOS ANGELES: As part of an ongoing plan to create a stronger regional management structure, Burson-Marsteller has hired another high-profile "market leader" for some of its West Coast operations.

LOS ANGELES: As part of an ongoing plan to create a stronger regional management structure, Burson-Marsteller has hired another high-profile "market leader" for some of its West Coast operations.

Alan Arkatov takes the title of president and CEO of Burson's Southern California offices, and will also head the WPP-owned firm's national education group. He is based in Los Angeles.

Arkatov was most recently involved in internet businesses, including eEducation Group, and a company he founded and sold, OnlineLearning.net.

Arkatov is also a state commissioner and chair of the California postsecondary education commission, which oversees the planning and coordination of the community college, state college and UC systems. He served as senior advisor to 1992 Clinton campaign chairman Mickey Kantor.

The hire continues Burson USA president and CEO Chet Burchett's strategy of installing regionally based managers, while at the same time trying to maintain a practice-driven focus. In July, former Publicis Dialog president Andy Hopson was hired as the New York market leader, and similar appointments have been made in the Midwest and other regions.

Burchett said that Burson will keep its practice-driven focus despite the new emphasis on regional leaders, and is committed to evaluating the regional leaders not only by the success of their geographic operations, but also by the overall business they drive to practice groups.

"The benefit of having the market leaders is they bring a daily focus on a defined market area without regard to discipline or practice," Burchett said.

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