Mike Sells is a vigorous, athletic ad man at nearly 54, but he already has a long-term succession strategy in place at the Sells Agency.
A recent jaunt down memory lane had him thinking about generational change, something he said Little Rock ad agencies are noted for fumbling.
Sells confided that he has two junior partners, Jon Hodges and Drew Finkbeiner, planning to buy him out over the next 11 years. Hodges and Finkbeiner already have a stake in the company and will be taking on more, Sells said over bangers and mash at Dugan’s Pub downtown. “It’s a 12-year plan, minimum, that started in 2015. By January 2026, I’ll be 63, and the way it’s structured, I could keep working by mutual consent.”
Hodges, the executive creative director, has never worked anywhere except the Sells Agency. “We hired him straight out of Arkansas State” in 2002, Sells said. Finkbeiner, from Conway, oversees the account services team and provides strategic direction for clients, Sells said.
“After the 12 years, if I want to continue to work, I can, and if they want me to, I can,” Sells said with a chuckle. “If they don’t want me to, I can’t, and if I don’t want to, I won’t!”