Leslee Dart has expanded her public relations agency by bringing in PMK/HBH managing director Robert Garlock and veteran Miramax marketing execs Amanda Lundberg and Cynthia Swartz as partners.
Dart, who had been calling her company the Dart Group since forming the venture late last year, will be chief executive officer of the expanded company, to be renamed shortly. Dart and her new partners will remain based in New York, but a full-scale Hollywood office will be established by fall.
Garlock, a 16-year vet at PMK/HBH whose contract expired Feb. 1, will start work at the venture shortly. It was unclear which of his clients will join him. His list includes Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, Uma Thurman, Johnny Depp, Hugh Grant, Clive Owen, Jimmy Fallon and Natasha Richardson.
Garlock gave notice to PMK/HBH chief exec Pat Kingsley on Tuesday. There did not seem to be any residual acrimony left over from Dart’s abrupt exit from Hollywood’s top celeb PR agency last year.
“Robert is fantastic at what he does, and he’s been a big asset to this company,” PMK/HBH managing director Simon Halls said. “It has got to be exciting to start a company from the ground up, and we’re sure he’ll do very well.”
Swartz will join Dart immediately, while Lundberg may not start until the summer, when her employment contract at Miramax expires. Both served two tours under Harvey and Bob Weinstein — Swartz working there a total of 13 years, Lundberg seven. Swartz ran Sony’s Gotham office between Miramax stints while Lundberg headed publicity at MGM for eight years in between her Miramax tours.
Dart said her partners are major players in the company’s two primary growth areas: repping talent and consulting on release and awards campaigns.
While PMK/HBH has many corporate and television clients, as well as film, Dart’s new entity will focus primarily on film projects.
Dart has tallied a number of consulting jobs on upcoming films, including “Cinderella Man,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The Da Vinci Code,” the Nicole Kidman starrer “Fur,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” “Hustle & Flow,” “The Lords of Dogtown,” “Failure to Launch” and “Babel.”
‘Yin and yang’
Dart’s choice of partners wasn’t exactly a surprise. She had worked closely with Garlock for 16 years, and many expected them to reteam. Lundberg and Swartz both wanted to stay in New York, and Dart’s agency provided a post-Miramax landing place that will allow them access to major films. At Miramax they helped orchestrate campaigns for “Chicago,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator” and “Finding Neverland,” among others.
“Robert and I were like yin and yang — he’d think of things I’d forget and vice versa — and I’ve always been impressed by how well he handles and nurtures talent,” Dart said. “I’ve worked with Amanda and Cynthia on many campaigns over the last 15 years. I feel they bring a studio perspective to the agency perspective that Robert and I bring. It’s a daunting combination.”
The Dart Group currently reps Tom Hanks, Conan O’Brien, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, Stephen Daldry, Jonathan Demme, Marc Forster, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Rob Marshall, Scorsese, M. Night Shyamalan, Anthony Minghella and Mike Nichols.