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AB&C CEO Tom McGivney to retire

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WILMINGTON — Tom McGivney, CEO of Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C), one of the largest independent full-service ad agencies in the region, announced Wednesday that he will retire on Sept. 30, setting up a new generation of firm leaders.

Tom McGivney | PHOTO COURTESY OF AB&C

McGivney will celebrate 38 full years at AB&C on his retirement day, having joined a boutique firm of about a dozen people in 1984 and helping to grow it to more than 100 strong today. Often recognized nationally for its work, AB&C has become a sought-after firm and grown into offices in Philadelphia and its suburbs, while retaining its headquarters in its home state.

McGivney told Delaware Business Times that retirement was not an impulsive decision, but he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren and family.

“It felt like time to turn over leadership of the company,” he said.

Effective Oct. 1, Paul Pomeroy, AB&C’s current president, will assume the role of CEO and be responsible for revenue, strategic growth and long-range business planning. Linda Shopa, current chief financial officer, will take on the additional role of chief operating officer and be responsible for long-range fiscal planning and agency operations. Steve Merino, chief creative officer, will continue his current responsibilities for overseeing the quality of the agency’s creative product, as well as providing strategic leadership and vision.

McGivney noted that he has worked with Shopa and Pomeroy for more than 20 years and with Merino for more than 10, which made his decision to step down even easier.

“I feel like I’m leaving it in the right hands, and the company is fiscally sound and reputationally sound. It just seems like the perfect time,” he said.

In more than four decades in advertising and marketing, McGivney has seen the maturation and modernization of the industry.

“What’s changed? Everything. What hasn’t changed? It is still all about the idea. How you delivered that idea has certainly changed over the years with social media and everything going digital, but without a good idea it won’t work,” he said.

When McGivney took over as the chief executive in 2017 from founder John Hawkins, he was a rare leader who came from the creative side of the house. The firm has long separated its management structure to allow all parts of the business a seat at the table – McGivney first took a management role in 2006 – but it emphasizes creativity.

“Creative has always been important to management – it’s kind of what we sell. What I like about the balance of ownership and management is that it’s not skewed toward just business development or anything. We look at everything holistically,” he said.

Over the past several years, annual growth at AB&C has been increasing steadily. In response, AB&C signed a lease in June for more than 6,000 square feet of office space off Broad Street in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. In April, AB&C also acquired Mangos, an agency based in Conshohocken, Pa., adding to a roster of clients served throughout the country and internationally.

“We are 100% committed to Delaware. That’s our roots … But Delaware is confined in a way as a small state, so we wanted to expand beyond the borders,” McGivney said, noting that it opened new clients and employees to the firm. “It’s just an exciting way to grow.”

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