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Former Marlin CFO moves to Whitlock Co.

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Former Marlin Network LLC Chief Financial Officer Todd Carroll’s move to The Whitlock Co. is among several leadership changes in the last year at the Springfield advertising agency after it was purchased by a national firm.

Carroll started Oct. 2 as a manager in Springfield public accounting firm Whitlock Co.’s business management department.

“It felt like it was a great move to come to Whitlock and add to their practice,” he said, noting the switch gives him the ability to “offer CFO services to the public rather than privately for one company.”

Carroll said he left Marlin in September 2016, about a year after the company sold to Irvine, California-based Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC. He had worked with Marlin since 2005, first as controller and, starting in 2010, as CFO.

He said Advantage Sales & Marketing is no longer supporting a CFO position in its Springfield market.

“They made lots of opportunities available, but they’re a very large company. It would have entailed me probably moving my family,” Carroll said, noting they’ve been in Springfield for more than 20 years. “It’s home, so we wanted to stay here.”

Carroll said he and other senior Marlin staffers made an internal commitment to help transition the company under the Advantage Sales & Marketing umbrella. About a year after the mid-2015 buyout, leadership changes began to unfold.

Marlin founder and CEO Dennis Marlin retired in July 2016, and Sheri Austin, Tim Bade and Rob Nelson were promoted to lead the Springfield market the next month, Carroll confirmed. Michael Stelzer, former president of Marlin, also is no longer with the company and continues work for his metalworking business Stelzer Metalworks.

On Springfield Business Journal’s list of the area’s largest advertising agencies — scheduled for the Oct. 30 print edition — Marlin Network reported 120 local employees led by Austin, general manager and executive vice president, and Bade, chief creative director. Marlin’s website lists Vice President of Business Development Nelson on its leadership team with Austin and Bade.

Austin, Bade and Nelson all changed their LinkedIn profiles to show new positions with Marlin in August 2016. Austin previously led Marlin’s Alchemedia Project, while Bade was chief creative director of Alchemedia and Nelson was director of account services, according to their LinkedIn pages.

“They were certainly tapped as the group that was going to take the company forward,” Carroll said.

Earlier this week, Austin declined to discuss the changes at Marlin. She could not be reached for comment this morning by deadline. Attempts to reach Marlin officials in person at the company’s Brick City office were unsuccessful, though the company has two other offices in Springfield.


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