- NEW YORK
Grant Theron has been appointed CEO for Commonwealth//McCann, McCann Worldgroup’s dedicated business unit for Chevrolet. He has also been named the global business leader on the General Motors (GM) account, one of the agency’s longest global multiplatform relationships.
Additionally, McCann announced the North American regional promotions of Sean Bryan and Tom Murphy to co-chief creative officers, McCann North America, and Veronica Bertran to chief client officer, McCann North America. Also Chioma Aduba has been promoted to EVP, head of business leadership at McCann New York.
In his new role, Theron will assume all operational and management responsibilities for McCann Worldgroup’s global GM business, specifically including oversight of all global GM advertising, CRM, promotional, digital marketing, production, analytics and other marketing communications assignments handled by Worldgroup units around the world. This is in addition to continuing to lead the global team at Commonwealth//McCann.
“Grant has a long history of building strong teams, crafting effective business solutions and ensuring excellent outcomes for clients,” said Bill Kolb, COO and incoming chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup. “His deep understanding of the automotive category has successfully helped to build and develop the GM brand, both regionally and globally. I’m confident his enthusiasm, expertise and leadership will continue to grow and evolve this important relationship with our valued clients.” Theron, who was previously COO at Commonwealth//McCann and on the global GM business, assumes responsibilities that had previously been handled by Kolb as part of his diverse portfolio of client and operational leadership responsibilities.
In the North American region, Bryan and Murphy have served as co-chief creative officers of McCann New York since 2012 and will retain creative leadership responsibility for the New York office as part of their expanded roles. Eric Silver has left the company to pursue another opportunity.
Rob Reilly, global creative chairman, McCann Worldgroup, said, “Tom and Sean have proven that you can indeed be genuinely wonderful human beings and be wildly successful creative leaders. As we began to restructure the overall model for North America, it became clear they would be the right people to lead us creatively across the region.”
Bertran is currently managing director for McCann XBC, the agency’s dedicated global business unit for Mastercard. In her new regional role, she will continue to lead Mastercard but will also oversee McCann’s clients across North America in order to coordinate resources and further develop integration across McCann Worldgroup’s agencies in the region on behalf of their clients.
Aduba, currently executive account director at McCann New York, has been named EVP, head of business leadership. In her new role, she will add operational oversight over McCann New York’s client leadership community, ensuring that they and all of the clients they serve are receiving the resources required to drive success for brands handled in the New York office.
Devika Bulchandani, president, McCann North America, said “As we enter 2021, together with Kevin Nelson, Erica Yahr, Nathy Aviram and Lyndsey Corona—Sean, Tom, Veronica, and Chioma are stepping into key leadership positions to further build on the strong foundation of the agency. I have worked with each of them closely and know they will further enhance our ability to create business outcomes for our clients through world class creative ideas.”
Harris Diamond, chairman and CEO of McCann Worldgroup, said, “I am proud of everything Grant, Sean, Tom, Veronica, and Chioma have done and am excited to see them take on these additional responsibilities.”
Theron, who had earlier worked at McCann and rejoined the agency in 2017, had most recently been EVP, global production and partnerships at the Y&R Global HQ Executive Committee. At Y&R, he managed content, global-scale partnerships and oversaw how the agency built and scaled its own capabilities. Previously, he served as SVP, global client lead at Wunderman. Prior to joining Wunderman, Theron had been digital managing partner of McCann London. He began his career in his native South Africa, where he also worked for McCann on several international accounts, including Microsoft, Mastercard, Nestlé, NESCAFÉ, Unilever and Cathay Pacific. In 1995, shortly after the 1994 release of Nelson Mandela and just before the first democratic elections in South Africa, Theron joined the client service department of HerdBuoys, the first African-owned ad agency in South Africa. HerdBuoys quickly became a rising star in the continent’s advertising market and was acquired by McCann in the early 2000s.
Bryan and Murphy first joined McCann New York in 2005 as group creative directors and then became the office’s creative directors in 2012. Under their joint leadership, the agency’s creative work has been among the most celebrated both in the industry and in the culture at large. This includes work such as State Street Global Advisors’ “Fearless Girl” installation, Microsoft’s “Changing the Game” campaign for its adaptive controller, and Mastercard’s “True Name” card in support of the LGBTQ community. Prior to McCann, Bryan and Murphy were teamed as creative directors at DDB Chicago.
Bertran began her account management career at Lautrec/Saatchi Argentina and spent 10 years at JWT New York before joining McCann New York in 2005. She has led a number of client businesses at the agency, including most recently Cigna and Chick-fil-A, and served as co-director of McCann New York’s account management discipline before being named as managing director of McCann XBC in 2019.
Aduba first joined McCann New York in 2014 in new business, and then moved in 2016 into account management. Most recently, she has led the New York agency’s RB Lysol/Dettol business across North America and Europe. Before joining McCann, she had worked in new business at JWT, Euro RSCG, and Grey Group.