SOM Alum Leads Finances for Ad Agency

by Robin L. Flanigan

As executive director of finance for nationally recognized marketing and advertising agency Partners + Napier, headquartered in Rochester, Scott Chapman ’04 has a lot of responsibility.

“I’m the lead person over all the finance, the human resources, and the information technology, which gets me into a lot of our operations on a daily basis,” he says. “My role is to make sure we put resources in the best places, toward the best opportunities, to have success.”

Partners + Napier, which has an office in San Francisco and recently opened one in Manhattan, has worked on a Super Bowl halftime Pepsi commercial and helped AT&T sponsor the Tribeca Film Festival. Clients include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Constellation Brands, Lufthansa Airlines, Mederma, and Capital One.

Chapman helped prepare Partners + Napier ahead of time for the bankruptcy of Eastman Kodak Co., a substantial client for whom the agency was responsible for worldwide marketing—and wound up offsetting losses with new clients. And he played a part in his employer’s 2013 acquisition of Post Central, helping to identify how bringing in the Pittsford company’s video production services—at the time frequently contracted out—could save money and meet increasing business demands for digital and social media.

“We added to our profit margin, but also added the capability to show our current clients that we can do things more efficiently and effectively,” he explains.

Once a physical therapy major, Chapman switched to accounting his junior year after some nudging from a friend who pointed out his passion for reading The Wall Street Journal. He remains highly appreciative of support from Phyllis Bloom, M.B.A., C.P.A., director and associate professor of accounting, who worked to figure out a way he could complete his degree only one semester late. “The fact that I was able to graduate somewhat on time was really because of the approach to problem solving that Nazareth took,” notes Chapman. “It was always about looking at the end goal, and I think that’s why I’ve been successful in my current role. It’s not just about looking at an Excel spreadsheet. It’s also about asking whether we make a big change or do something a little bit differently to avoid a problem in the future.”

Chapman was introduced to Partners + Napier during a college internship at a local accounting firm, and happened to be involved in the transaction that formed the agency in 2004.

Competitive and creative, Chapman structures contracts, when the opportunity makes good business sense, to include incentive compensation, which offers the agency financial rewards if clients meet certain performance-based initiatives.

“Our CEO has put some confidence behind me and given me a lot of opportunities,” he says, “and to quote her as I go forward as a part of our senior team, I’m going to continue to focus on doing great work for great clients with great people.”

Robin L. Flanigan is a freelance writer in Rochester, New York.

Scott Chapman

Scott Chapman '04

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