VMLY&R has made three key leadership movies. Jen McDonald has been promoted to chief client officer, North America. In her new role, McDonald will oversee client engagement across all U.S. offices and is responsible for driving growth, developing talent, and delivering and integrating VMLY&R’s evolving offerings. In addition to this remit, McDonald will continue to lead the Wendy’s business for VMLY&R.
The agency has also appointed Najla Haddad as executive director, client engagement, based in New York, and Michelle Derderian as executive director, client engagement, based in Chicago.
Throughout her career, McDonald has established a track record of nurturing long-standing client relationships and building world-class teams. McDonald has led a portfolio of the agency’s foremost client partners during her 11-year tenure at VMLY&R, including NAPA AUTO PARTS, Dell, Sam’s Club, Navistar, Stella Artois and Wendy’s. Her strategic focus and emphasis on creating connected brands has helped generate culturally relevant, effective, and award-winning work that has been widely recognized by the industry’s top awards, including Cannes Lions, One Show, CLIOs, and Effies. Prior to joining VMLY&R in 2008, she served as SVP of brand and partner marketing at Revolution Health, a player in the health information space that was later sold to a top health publisher. She also held marketing leadership roles at AOL, XM Radio and a variety of technology startups.
McDonald will report to Chuck Searle, global chief client officer, and will continue to be based in VMLY&R’s Kansas City office.
Haddad joins from Digitas. In her new role as executive director, client engagement, Haddad will lead global digital transformation initiatives for Colgate-Palmolive and be part of the VMLY&R New York leadership team. She will report to McDonald and Carl Hartman, CEO of Red Fuse Communications, working jointly with them to identify new growth opportunities and data-driven marketing initiatives for Colgate.
Haddad brings a wealth of experience that complements VMLY&R’s Customer Experience (CX) and wider digital capabilities. Most recently, she served as EVP at Digitas where she led key accounts including Delta and Comcast, and expanded the use of the agency’s digital, marketing, social and content transformation capabilities. With 15 years of agency experience, Haddad has a portfolio of accounts which includes American Express, Nestlé Gerber, Nestlé Purina, Coca-Cola, and IHG.
Derderian joins from FCB Chicago to run key accounts, including Kraft Heinz. As executive director, client engagement, Derderian will be part of the VMLY&R Chicago leadership team and responsible for the agency’s growing client engagement team and all key accounts in the office. She will report to McDonald and partner closely with executive director and office lead Madeline (Nies) Larsen and executive creative director Aaron Evanson to focus on growth in the market. Derderian has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, having served most recently in a number of senior positions at FCB Chicago. She has a diverse background working with brands such as The J.M. Smucker Company, Kellogg’s, Target, GlaxoSmithKline, Jimmy John’s, and New Orleans Tourism.