AbelsonTaylor has promoted client services ace Eric Densmore to the role of senior vice president of business development, the Chicago agency said Thursday. 

Densmore, formerly an SVP/account director, is in his 16th year with the firm, which was a 2023 MM+M Agency 100 honoree. Over the years, he’s worked on some new business pitches in addition to his client management duties. He will now focus primarily on leading new account growth, reporting to AbelsonTaylor president Jeff Berg. 

In a statement, Berg praised Densmore’s “strong track record” of using data-driven approaches to launch and expand client brands. 

“He is perfectly suited for this new role with his deep industry knowledge, solid relationships and ability to establish new connections,” Berg stated.

The promotion follows the departure of former EVP of business development, Jay Carter, after a more than 35-year tenure at the firm that concluded with a four-month stint as emeritus director. Carter started a new role Thursday as EVP/head of business development for Juice Pharma, another 2023 MM+M Agency 100 honoree.

Densmore, who estimates he’s led one to two new-business pitches a year for the last few years, took over the function in earnest when Carter stepped into the emeritus role in February.

“I’ve led pitches working with Jay over the years and that was a part of the job that was always fascinating to me,” he said.

AbelsonTaylor’s revenue fell 7.2% to $60.1 million in 2022, according to the 2023 MM+M Agency 100 revenue chart. Among the new business category, the firm added work in 2022 on the Biogen/Sage Therapeutics depression drug Zuranolone and PharmaEssentia’s polycythemia vera (PV) treatment Besremi. 

Densmore leads a small team that also includes Lydia Heerwagen, a business development manager and a senior project manager. He plans to increase focus on organic growth to enable the firm to become more selective about pitching, which is comparatively expensive and time-consuming.

“We’ve been fortunate to win more of our fair share of pitches,” Densmore said, “But I want to work with the [client services team] and focus on organic growth and not invest on as many big pitches.”

He brings 26 years of industry experience to the role, including two separate stints with AbelsonTaylor. He rejoined the agency as SVP in 2007 from Euro RSCG Life, where he served as group VP. Previously, he held the position of account supervisor at GSW, which followed his first two years as an AbelsonTaylor account executive beginning in 1997.

Over his career, Densmore has launched and marketed brands in multiple categories to diverse audiences globally. 

“He has a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ perspective and has had a strong track record using new and innovative data driven solutions to launch and expand client brands, demonstrating a rare combination of business intelligence, creativity and innovation,” added Berg.

Also among his goals is making sure business development is perceived as a team sport. 

“One of the things I’ve emulated and learned from Jay is focusing on relationships and making sure to stay in touch with past clients,” Densmore said. “That’s the mentality I want to make sure the broader account management team understands the value of.”

He added that this isn’t about “me and my relationships, it’s that AbelsonTaylor Rolodex. I want to make sure everyone understands that new business isn’t just my or my team, it’s everybody. It’s much more than one person pounding the phone every day.”