Monday, February 19, 2018

People on the Move

  • Wednesday, Sep. 13, 2017
Zulu expands creative and strategy teams with sr. hires
Pictured from top left, clockwise are: Rodger Eyre, Gerald Kugler, Laura Kim and Tim Hopkins

Zulu Alpha Kilo has hired two new creative directors and two strategy directors. 
On the creative front, Gerald Kugler and Rodger Eyre join from Juniper Park/TBWA where they were most recently group creative directors. Prior to the merger of Juniper Park and TBWA, the pair were executive creative directors at TBWA where they oversaw notable campaigns such as Gatorade’s “Sledge Hockey” and Nissan’s “Back in the game” documentary.  They spent six years running Nissan, creating the “Conquer All Conditions” campaign, which recently earned them a Gold Cassie award in the “Sustained Success’ category in 2016. Throughout their careers, their work has won Cannes Lions, One Show, Communication Arts, Clios, and Marketing awards. Prior to TBWA, they’ve worked at Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Roche Macaulay, BBDO and ACLC.
They will report into Zulu’s chief creative officer and founder, Zak Mroueh. Kugler and Eyre will join a diverse creative team which includes six other creative directors.
In addition to the hires on the creative team, Zulu strengthened the strategy team by adding two strategy directors, Laura Kim and Tim Hopkins.
Kim joins Zulu from Leo Burnett Chicago and its innovation group, Farmhouse. Kim has worked with such clients as Pfizer, Visa, McDonald¹s, Samsung and Dunkin’ Donuts. Her strategic skillset combines cognitive psychology, trend analysis, and research. Prior to Burnett, she worked at SapientNitro.
Hopkins joins Zulu from Grey London where he lead strategy across some of Grey’s global clients and was a founding director of Grey Response. He has 20 years’ experience in brand, integrated, and transactional marketing with clients such as Vodafone, Volvo and Marks & Spencer.

  • Tuesday, Sep. 12, 2017
Bear Collins joins Fitzgerald & Co as creative technologist
Bear Collins

Fitzgerald & Co (Fitzco) has hired Bear Collins as senior creative technologist.
Collins comes to Fitzco from BBDO NY, where as creative technologist he helped launch the agency’s Innovation Lab in 2015. Over the years, Collins has won eight Cannes Lions for advertising and two for film. He attended VCU Brandcenter and received his master’s degree in business with a creative ad/creative tech concentration.
“He is a game-changer for us--the perfect combination of big-idea creativity and technological know-how,” said Mike McGarry, director of emerging content at Fitzco.
For those unfamiliar with the creative technology title, Collins describes a day in his life: “I help ideate non-traditional concepts and prototype digital innovations. I hack social platforms, come up with never been done ideas and tinker with technology—all with the goal of finding unique solutions to our clients’ problems.” 

  • Monday, Sep. 11, 2017
Zambezi hires Dawn Thomas as head of culture strategy and content innovation
Dawn Thomas

Independent creative agency Zambezi has hired technopreneur, innovator, and filmmaker Dawn Thomas as its first head of culture strategy and content innovation. In her new position, Thomas drives the agency’s Samsung business and is responsible for overseeing all agency client initiatives to elevate creative strategy, brand narrative and cultural IQ.

She was recruited by and reports to Zambezi’s chief strategy officer Kristina Jenkins. “I believe in finding inspiration and talent from unexpected places,” said Jenkins. “Dawn straddles a range of industries leveraging a deep understanding of people and an exceptional network. She is someone who sees the opportunity instead of the challenge in everything she does. She truly knows what it takes for brands to create with culture in powerful and meaningful ways.”

Thomas’ background is eclectic, with a J.D. in International Corporate Law (Syracuse) and a Masters in New Media Business (Newhouse School of Public Communications).  She began her professional life on Wall Street in bank analysis, hedge funds and derivatives later moving in-house to a tech startup in the Equity Group Investments portfolio. However, with an obsession for technology, finance and storytelling, she moved to Los Angeles to explore opportunities in entertainment.
Thomas started that career at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) working in the film finance, film talent, and TV divisions. She then became a sr. development and production executive for Will Smith’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment (Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend and Hancock), managing a slate of film and television projects. At Overbrook, she worked with some of the industry’s top creative professionals, as well as major studios and networks (including ABC, CW, Sony, and Warner Bros) with budgets from $10M-$100M+. Later, she founded the company’s interactive marketing division developing digital content and franchise strategies. Creating transmedia campaigns to promote original IP’s and studio films (including I Am Legend), she developed original content producing motion comics, graphic novels, virtual games and live action shorts in partnership with brands like Xbox, Apple, DC and Vertigo Comics.

Following Overbrook, Thomas ran a consultancy for creative talent, TV networks and brands (Fiat, Hulu, Neutrogena, Reebok, Verizon, Walmart) structuring content deals, producing multi-platform campaigns and designing creative strategies.

Thomas is also a tech entrepreneur, a front-end developer (Java, HTML, and CSS), and founder of her own interactive content platform, Koi Media, producing immersive narratives (including VR and 360) for women - a community she is passionate about.

“For me, culture is truth and stories are powerful,” said Thomas. “Culture is a phenomenon that is constantly changing, refusing definition, and rejecting formulaic tropes. It appears across many passion points and is fueled by music, art, entertainment, fashion, technology and more. It doesn’t ask for permission and it can’t be bought. My intention is to continue building a collective of culture’s muses, invest in and amplify their passions, and architect strategic blueprints for brands fueled by authentic story narratives.”

Thomas’ hire is a continuation of Zambezi’s expansion of its strategy department led by Jenkins. Earlier this year Zambezi hired Wieden+Kennedy executive Danielle Pak as its first director of communications planning, launching a new communications planning offering within the agency’s strategy department.

  • Friday, Sep. 8, 2017
Aspen Film brings on program director Jane Schottle from Toronto Fest
ASPEN, Colo. -- 

Aspen Film’s new programmer Jane Schottle has quite a festival pedigree. She’s been a part of the Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF) organization for 18 years.  Schottle selected all of the films to be shown at the 39th annual Aspen Filmfest, which is set for Oct 3-8, 2017 in Aspen and Carbondale, Colorado. 

Schottle’s introduction to Aspen began last year when she programmed Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings.  The selections thrilled Aspen audiences, and the majority of films programmed went on to receive Oscar awards and nominations.  What attracts a programmer from one of the top three film festivals in the world to add a more intimate festival to her repertoire?  “I got to know the (Aspen) audience and I really, really liked them. They were very engaged, curious and quite sophisticated...and were interested in talking about and seeing challenging films. I found that people seemed to like the films I brought last time, so I was interested in bringing them more.”

As an international programmer for TIFF, Schottle is responsible for programming films from Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Israel, as well as American independent cinema. Having joined TIFF in 2002, her keen eye for discovering new talent was confirmed when films she programmed won the Cadillac People’s Choice Award three years running--Hotel Rwanda in 2004, Tsotsi in 2005 and Bella in 2006. Schottle also founded TIFF’s Kids International Film Festival. TIFF is one of the top festivals in the world, alongside Venice, Berlin and Cannes.

Aspen Film interim director Elexa Ruth said, “Our board is ecstatic to be able to share the talents of such an accomplished programmer with our audiences in the Roaring Fork Valley.  Jane’s expertise is unmatched.  I’m excited to have our audiences experience these wonderful films next month.”

Schottle says her goal for Aspen Filmfest is, “to keep the audience coming back for more. I want that hunger for experience, learning, curiosity and emotion.”

The lineup for the Aspen Filmfest will be announced later this month and will showcase narrative and documentary features, a dynamic mix of award-worthy fall previews, and acclaimed independent films from the international festival circuit.

  • Friday, Sep. 8, 2017
Eric Zuncic to join DDB North America as chief strategy officer
Eric Zuncic

Eric Zuncic will join the DDB North America leadership team as chief strategy officer effective October 2. Zuncic, a Harvard Business School graduate, joins DDB from Crispin Porter+Bogusky where he spent almost two and half years as chief strategy officer for all of its North American offices.
Reporting to DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark, Zuncic will oversee strategy for all DDB North America offices as well as We Are Unlimited, the bespoke agency launched for McDonald’s U.S. business earlier this year. 
“Ask the best creatives in the world and they will tell you their dirty little secret is to find the best strategists in the world and to hold on for dear life. Eric is one of those strategists, and lucky for me there’s lots to hold onto,” commented Ari Weiss, chief creative officer of DDB North America.
Prior to joining CP+B, Zuncic spent over three years at Mekanism, where he oversaw strategy on accounts including Method, Pepsi, and Ben & Jerry’s. Earlier, he was director of strategy and innovation at the Brand Union. Before going agency side, he worked for Unilever and Geico.
“I’ve always admired the creative legacy of DDB and am thrilled to partner with Wendy, Ari and the extended North America leadership team to continue the resurgence of this iconic agency,” said Zuncic.
The hiring of Zuncic completes DDB North America’s leadership team with Clark, Weiss and chief people officer Britt Hayes at the helm of the agency.

  • Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017
Method Studios promotes Combrie and Wild, adds Werner
Eric Combrié

To enable the global production capacity and capabilities that blockbuster features and world-class advertising require, Deluxe’s Method Studios continues to integrate VFX and VR/AR operations, and has added new leadership roles at the global level. Eric Combrié has been promoted to chief operating officer, reporting to president of VFX and VR/AR, Ed Ulbrich. Tom Wild has been promoted to VP of global production operations, joining Combrié’s team, along with Jeff Werner, who returns to Method as director of digital studio in Los Angeles. 

Ulbrich said, “Over the past year we’ve begun to identify the best systems and processes within all of our locations and implement them across the board to standardize production operations. This new team will lead us as a global operation, working closely with production and technology leadership in our LA, New York, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne and Pune studios, to shift and share capacity and capabilities as a fully unified global operation.”

Combrié joined Method in 2016 as SVP, global business operations after having spent nearly two decades at Technicolor in senior financial roles, most recently as division CFO, production services, overseeing finance and operations for VFX, animation, games and postproduction for entities including MPC, The Mill, Mr. X and Mikros Image. 

Wild, a 20-year production veteran, has been promoted to the global team from Iloura in Melbourne, where he was national head of production. There he designed and managed an integrated system that connects production, finance, recruiting, operations, and sales across multiple facilities. He will focus on extending this system to further unify Method, Iloura and VR/AR global operations. Wild’s credits include the Mad Max: Fury Road and the VFX Emmy® Award-winning Game of Thrones

Werner, who spent five years at Method, returns as digital studio director, Los Angeles, most recently from MPC, where he was head of production. He will cultivate and lead artist, artist management and art department teams for feature and commercial VFX and VR/AR, and support studio operations locally. Globally, he will lead artist initiatives to facilitate international mobility and support the expansion of the Method artist team in Pune. His credits include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, two Pirates of the Caribbean features and X-Men 2, and commercial campaigns for top brands. 

Method and Iloura recently completed work on Spider-Man: Homecoming from Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures. Method also recently completed VFX for Netflix’s Okja, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 from Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

  • Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017
Publicis Groupe's Prodigious hires Jacques del Conte as sr. editor
Jacques del Conte

Prodigious, the content production arm of Publicis Groupe, has hired Jacques del Conte as sr. editor. He joins the agency’s growing editorial team at its state-of-the-art campus in Brooklyn’s Industry City.

“Working at the intersection of film and technology, Jacques has developed an impressive reputation for adaptability in an ever-changing digital video landscape,” said Beth Fitzpatrick, executive producer at Prodigious. “Adding a talented editor with Jacques’ skill-set and experience will be a huge asset to us and our clients.”

For the past decade, del Conte has been working in and around the commercial video world as an editor, collaborating with directors such as The Mercadantes, Zachary Heinzerling, Ghost+ Cow, and Fisher Stevens. His clients have included Budweiser, YouTube, Major League Baseball, Microsoft, Johnnie Walker and Converse. Del Conte joins Prodigious from Anomaly, where he helped design and execute the expansion of its internal postproduction department, growing from one small editing bay to a robust,independent production company.

Del Conte studied photography at Bard College. He became a contributing photographer and editor for print and web publications including Vanity Fair Magazine, where he had the honor of working with Christopher Hitchens, Sebastian Junger, Buzz Bissinger, Mark Seliger, and Annie Leibovitz. 

  • Wednesday, Sep. 6, 2017
Erica Herman joins McCann XBC as EVP, global strategy director
Erica Herman

McCann XBC, a unit of McCann Worldgroup dedicated to its global client Mastercard, is bringing Erica Herman aboard as EVP, global strategy director. Herman joins as Mastercard this year celebrates the 20th anniversary of its “Priceless” campaign platform. In her new role, Herman will head strategy on all integrated communication and marketing solutions globally for Mastercard, leading a worldwide team of strategists.
Herman joins McCann from her previous role as SVP, global strategy director at Publicis New York, working on Procter & Gamble’s Tampax brand and its Digestive Wellness portfolio, which includes brands such as Meta, Pepto-Bismol, and Prilosec. Previously, she held SVP positions as brand strategy director at Lowe New York and group planning director at Deutsch working on a wide range of clients. Her strategic work has been recognized as part of the agency teams that have won Effies, Cannes Lions, and back-to-back Gold Jay Chiat awards.

Herman has also worked in the nonprofit sector, including heading strategy on the NGO Doctors of the World account at Publicis, and, prior to her advertising career, serving as executive director of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Associates. She currently sits on the 4A’s Strategy Committee.
Devika Bulchandani, president of McCann XBC and managing director of McCann New York, said, “Brilliant strategy is central to the work we do with Mastercard, and Erica’s expertise and leadership across a wide range of brands will make a notable addition to our global team.”
Suzanne Powers, global chief strategy officer at McCann Worldgroup, noted, “Erica brings with her a keen business sense paired with sharp cultural knowledge stemming from her wide range of experiences—and has led cohesive, often disruptive, strategy across many platforms.”

  • Wednesday, Sep. 6, 2017
Ray Villares named chief growth officer at ORA Interactive
Ray Villares

ORA Interactive, a Chicago-based user experience and digital product studio, has named industry veteran Ray Villares to serve as its chief growth officer. In this newly created role, Villares is responsible for growing the organization’s revenue, size and position in the market. 

Prior to joining ORA Interactive, Villares was an entrepreneur, holding leadership positions at digital agencies including Acquity Group, Critical Mass, Havas Chicago, and Symmetri, as well as growing nonprofits. He is an accomplished strategic executive, manager, customer experience planner, mentor, author and public speaker with experience spanning two decades. He has worked with B2C and B2B Fortune 500 organizations including USAA Financial, AT&T, Ben & Jerry’s, Denstply Sirona, McDonald’s, Motorola, Northern Trust, Proctor & Gamble, True Value, Yamaha and Disney.

“ORA has had a phenomenal year. We achieved 80% year-over-year growth in headcount, joined The Escape Pod Group, and added an exciting roster of new clients. To capitalize on our momentum, it’s critical that we bring on specialized senior leadership to round out our all-star team. We’re excited to have Ray onboard to help shepherd our next era of growth,” said Mike Kelly, ORA Interactive founder and CEO.

“ORA is among a short list of hot mobile and emerging technology studios quickly growing and enabling Chicago’s technology start-up ecosystem. The opportunity to do something spectacular was apparent from our very first conversation,” said Villares.

  • Tuesday, Sep. 5, 2017
Sweeney-McDonald becomes managing director of Louisiana International Film Festival
Peggy Sweeney-McDonald
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- 

Peggy Sweeney-McDonald has been named managing director of the Louisiana International Film Festival. She recently moved back to her hometown of Baton Rouge after living in Los Angeles for 18 years.

Sweeney-McDonald was the owner of Superstar Events-L.A., a meeting and event company producing memorable red carpet, non-profit and corporate events across the country. She is the creator of Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde... Life Stories About Food, the hit festive live food monologue show and the author of the best-selling coffee table book by Pelican Publishing. She has been a presenter at The Louisiana Book Festival, The Faulkner Society Words & Music Conference, The California Culinary Historians, The Louisiana Restaurant Association, Women of Infinite Possibilities, Passions of the Palate and the Chili Pepper Extravaganza. 

Sweeney-McDonald is a member of Screen Actors Guild and has worked in film, television and commercials. She has written two Louisiana based television pilots and one is a semi-finalist in Randy Becker’s NextTV Entertainment Screenwriting Contest.