- PORTLAND, Ore.
Colleen DeCourcy and Tom Blessington have been named to Wieden+Kennedy as co-presidents, and Dave Luhr and Susan Hoffman will move into chair roles alongside W+K co-founder Dan Wieden.
As co-presidents, DeCourcy and Blessington will absorb the former roles of chief creative officer and chief operating officer, effective October 1, 2018.
DeCourcy has been at W+K since 2013, when she was hired as global executive creative director. She became partner/stakeholder in 2014 and chief creative officer in 2016. She has been instrumental in future-proofing the agency’s creative capabilities, and expanding and diversifying talent and leadership. She’s played a key role in the agency’s business growth, new partnerships, and culturally provocative output.
Blessington returns to W+K after a year at YouTube, where he held the position of VP of brand, media, and experiences. Prior to his time at YouTube, he was managing director of W+K Portland for 11 years. Under Blessington’s leadership, the Portland office vastly expanded its client roster, doubled its staff, and achieved some of the most celebrated industry honors. He first joined W+K in 1990. During his long tenure, he’s held a variety of key roles at the agency, including leading the Nike business both in the U.S. and Europe. He also helped open and establish W+K Amsterdam and later W+K New York, serving as its first managing director. Blessington was also a member of the agency’s partner/stakeholder group, a position he will resume.
Luhr, who has been president of W+K since 2013, joined the agency in 1986 to run the Nike business. At the time the start-up shop had a staff of 30 and a single office in Portland. He later became managing director of the Portland office and one of the agency’s first partners/stakeholders. Luhr was focused on diversifying W+K’s client roster and growing the agency into what is billed as today’s largest global independent advertising micro-network: eight offices aimed to create provocative, innovative work that provides strategic consistency and business results for global clients.
Hoffman came to W+K as employee number eight and has spent the last 35 years defining the agency’s culture and setting the bar for creative excellence. During her tenure she’s helped open W+K offices around the world and has served as executive creative director in Portland, Amsterdam, London, New York City, and Delhi—and for the past year has been in the chief creative officer role on the global management team. Her body of work includes some of the agency’s greatest hits for iconic brands including Nike, Old Spice, Levi’s, Chrysler, Target, and Procter & Gamble, to name a few. She’s helped launch the careers of many of the most successful creative directors in the industry, and was one of W+K’s first partners/stakeholders. In 2017 she was inducted into The One Club Creative Hall of Fame, and in October she will accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Clio Awards.
Neil Christie, who has served as W+K’s chief operating officer since March of 2017, will assume a new role in the W+K London office as chief executive. Helen Andrews remains W+K London’s managing director alongside executive creative directors Iain Tait and Tony Davidson.
Luhr commented: “Dan Wieden and David Kennedy started this agency with a unique and long-lasting vision. Those foundational values have provided us with a hunger to construct a future agency even stronger than the one we have enjoyed to date. It is time to pass the torch to a new generation of visionary leaders to run the agency that I love so much. Colleen and Tom are two of the strongest creative and business minds I have ever met. They are inspiring and driven by the desire to make interesting work with great partners. I feel very confident about the future leadership of this agency and fortunate to have such a strong team paving the way for our next chapter of creativity.”
DeCourcy said, “To say I feel a huge responsibility would be an understatement. We’re just going to continue to follow Dan’s best advice: ‘Loosen up, don’t let the brand get too polished and predictable. It ain’t mathematics, it’s jazz.’”
Hoffman commented: “I am incredibly spoiled to have grown up at an agency that always put people and creativity first. It’s important to me that it stay this way, that we forever fight for what’s best for the work.”
Blessington shared, “Suffice it to say, I didn’t expect to be at YouTube for only a year. It’s an amazing company that I respect and admire greatly. But I’ve spent almost a quarter of a century helping W+K become the agency it is today, so when Dave asked if I would return to take the reins and co-lead the network, it felt right to come home.”