W. B. Doner & Co. Inc. yesterday named Alan T. Kalter chief executive officer of the firm, capping his 28-year career at the city's biggest advertising agency.
Mr. Kalter, Doner's president and chief operating officer since May 1992, becomes only the fourth chief executive in the agency's 58-year history.
Mr. Kalter, 48, will replace Jim Dale, who is leaving Doner to write a book about Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer, a former Oriole.
Mr. Dale's role as chairman of the board will be assumed by Herbert F. Fried, who had been chairman of the firm's executive committee. The president and chief operating officer positions will not be filled immediately.
Mr. Kalter's appointment comes at a time when Doner has landed a number of new and highly sought-after clients, such as First National Bank of Maryland, Coca-Cola Co. and G. Heileman Brewing Co.
"The agency has had quite a successful run, so I don't think we'll be changing anything, just building on what we have," said Mr. Kalter, who will be based in Detroit, which together with Baltimore serves as the agency's headquarters.
In recent years, Doner's 11 worldwide offices have increased the firm's billings to $450 million annually, through work with such clients as the Arby's restaurant chain, Bell Atlantic Corp., The Baltimore Sun Co., Fila USA and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc.
L In 1995, Doner expects its billings to rise to $475 million.
Earlier this year, the firm was identified as one of the four fastest-growing ad agencies in the Southeast for 1994 by an industry trade magazine.
Doner's employment has swelled to more than 500. Of those, about 165 are in Doner's Baltimore office at 400 E. Pratt St., where the firm is in the process of expanding by 8,000 square feet, Mr. Dale said.
"We've just had the best year in our history, so this is a good time for me to depart," said Mr. Dale, 46, who joined Doner in 1971. "Besides, when you're as addicted to writing as I am, an opportunity like this is just too good to pass up."
Mr. Dale's book is expected to be published by Andrews McMeel & Co. in January 1996.