Feb 26th, 2018
J. Walter Thompson Company Announces New Executive Leadership Appointments
Tamara Ingram, Chief Executive Officer, J. Walter Thompson Company today announced the following changes that will impact both Global and North America leadership.
• Stefano Zunino has been promoted to the newly created role of Chief Transformation Officer, JWT Worldwide
• Simon Pearce will join the company as Chief Executive Officer, North America
• Ben James has been promoted to Chief Creative Officer, JWT New York
• Susan Kim-Kirkland has been promoted to Chief Marketing Officer, JWT Worldwide
• Brent Choi has been promoted to President, JWT Canada, Chief Creative Officer, Global Brands
“Over the past year we have rethought our business, overhauled our capabilities,
focused on how to operate more like an agile start-up, and upgraded and diversified our talent,” stated Tamara Ingram, Chief Executive Officer, J. Walter Thompson. “With this new leadership team in place, we are poised to truly reimagine the future of J. Walter Thompson.”
Stefano Zunino has been promoted to the newly created role of Chief Transformation
Officer, simultaneously retaining the role of CEO, JWT Latin America, reporting to
Ingram. In this role, Zunino will be responsible for driving and facilitating organizational change that will help the company identify and execute opportunities for growth.
“Stefano Zunino will lead efforts to ensure we are maximizing our global roster of core skills, unique expertise, capabilities and partnerships to create a more agile, integrated ecosystem to deliver for clients and better accelerate growth,” stated Ingram.
“As J. Walter Thompson continues to adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset, this role is key in ensuring we are poised to provide a competitive and unified offering enabling us to continue innovating and reimaging the future for our clients and our company,” stated Zunino.
Simon Pearce, CEO, North America
As the new CEO, JWT North America, Pearce will have responsibility for driving overall strategic direction and growth, leading business development efforts, managing client relationships and accelerating the agency’s nontraditional offerings across all of J. Walter Thompson’s offices and business units in the region, which include JWT’s flagship New York headquarters as well as offices in Atlanta, Chicago and Canada, Mirum (LA, Minneapolis, Dallas, San Diego), JWT Inside, ISL, SCPF, and JWT’s stake in the WPP shopper and activation company Geometry Global. Pearce will report to JWT Global Chief Executive Officer Tamara Ingram. He will also join the Global Executive Committee.
“Simon Pearce is a change agent who is gifted in the art of leading and inspiring people to deliver unprecedented business success,” stated Ingram. “Simon’s intellect, invincible drive and charisma will be an exciting addition to our leadership team.”
Stated Pearce, “After three exceptionally successful years at mcgarrybowen, it was time to scale new and different heights. J. Walter Thompson is a towering industry icon with a pioneering spirit, second to none. I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with Tamara Ingram and her team in North America to shape the next chapter of JWT’s history, and partner with an enviable cadre of clients to continue to help them creatively reimagine and evolve their brand and business futures. I can’t wait to get started at J. Walter Thompson. Exciting times are ahead!”
Pearce joins JWT from mcgarrybowen, where, as U.S. CEO since 2015, he was responsible for leading the transformation of the Dentsu-owned agency with an impressive new business track record so significant it resulted in the agency being awarded the Advertising Age Comeback Agency of The Year accolade.
Prior to that, Pearce was with Omnicom/BBDO, where he most recently served as executive vice president, worldwide business lead on Hewlett Packard. Additionally, Pearce served as managing director for Ogilvy & Mather New York, working on accounts such as Gap, IKEA and UPS. His resume includes executive roles at Wieden+Kennedy, Young & Rubicam and McCann Erickson. He has worked with clients including Nike, Mars, American Express, Miller Coors, Time Warner Cable and Unilever.
Ben James, Chief Creative Officer, JWT New York
Ben James has been promoted to the role of Chief Creative Officer, JWT New York.
In this role, he will be responsible for implementing the creative vision for JWT’s global flagship office in New York. He will report to Simon Pearce.
“Ben James has long been at the center of the creative heartbeat of J. Walter Thompson New York, and pivotal in the creation of our most recent innovative work,” stated Matt Eastwood, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer. What is truly special about Ben, is his talent in nurturing our culture, which has resulted in our employees and clients collaborating together as true partners.”
Stated James, “More than ever, I believe that creativity and collaboration are a business force, and in this new role I will continue to push a culture of “we” because phenomenal things happen when we harness our collective talent. I love the people of JWT and I believe our future is bright and exciting.”
Susan Kim-Kirkland, Chief Marketing Officer, JWT Worldwide
Kim-Kirkland will be responsible for driving growth and operationalizing the company’s client growth and new business marketing strategy. She will report to Tamara Ingram and she joins the JWT Global Executive Committee. In addition, Kim-Kirkland, currently President and CEO of Canada and Chicago will retain the role of CEO. She will report to Tamara Ingram. She will also join the JWT Global Executive Committee.
Elevated to the position of President & CEO, JWT Canada in late 2012, Kim-Kirkland has been leading the successful transformation of J. Walter Thompson there. In addition to this region, Susan also took on the leadership of the network’s Chicago operations in 2015.
“Susan is a triple threat; she has enviable business acumen, natural leadership skills and the ability to remain curious while in a constant pursuit of excellence,” said Ingram. “As Global CMO, Susan’s entrepreneurial approach and winning mentality will energize our global network to ensure we are leveraging our historic strengths and our ‘best in class’ integrated capabilities to solve client problems.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to be part of the executive team leading the future of the J. Walter Thompson brand,” stated Kim-Kirkland. “It’s one of the most respected brands in the world and the depth of talent and capabilities globally are some of the best in our industry. We are so well-positioned to help our clients solve business issues in a world of constant change and volatility. I am thrilled to be part of this new era.”
Pearce and James will join JWT’s North American leadership team, which includes Brent Choi, Nick Read, Chief Financial Officer, JWT North America, Michael Steiger, Head of HR and Talent, JWT, North America and Julia Janovic, Director of Communications, JWT North America.
Brent Choi, President, JWT Canada, Chief Creative Officer, Global Brands
Brent Choi has been promoted to the role of President, JWT Canada and Chief Creative Officer, Global Brands. In this role, Choi will oversee all JWT Canada’s operations while continuing to lead creative on key global brands. He will have a dual report to Simon Pearce and Matt Eastwood, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer. Choi will work closely with Kim-Kirkland to maintain a smooth transition for JWT Canada, a celebrated office within the network.
“Under Brent’s leadership, JWT New York has delivered true innovation and raised the creative bar for the office, most recently bringing home 12 Lions in 2017, the most in the office’s history, and being named the 4th most awarded NY agency by the Gunn Report,” stated Eastwood. “As we continue to reimagine the future of the company, it is exciting to see a “creative” leading a key region like JWT Canada and we look forward to seeing more innovation.”
Choi, who is originally from Canada, stated, “The new role is professionally and personally incredibly exciting for me. Continuing to work with some wonderful clients and iconic brands that I’ve gained great respect for, taking on a new challenge, and, also to be going home means so much to me – all while staying a part of the JWT network. “
And, Lynn Power, CEO, JWT New York, will exit the company to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity.
“We are thankful for Lynn’s important contributions to JWT New York these past few years and we wish her continued success in her future endeavors,” stated Ingram.
Bio: Stefano Zunino
Stefano Zunino joined J. Walter Thompson in 2005 as CEO, Brazil. In 2014, he was named CEO, JWT Latin America and was responsible for re-unifying the company’s Brazil and Latin America operations. In 2013, Zunino was given the additional title of Worldwide Head Digital and played a critical role in the creation and launch of Mirum. Zunino began his career in advertising in 1987 at Leo Burnett London and worked across the company’s Chicago and Milan offices as a business director for Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, Phillip Morris and Kraft Foods. He moved on to become General Manager of VegaOlmosPonce in Buenos Aires and then CEO of Lowe in Brazil.
Bio: Ben James
Ben got into advertising to change advertising. He has a willful imagination, a curiosity for the human experience, and believes that creativity should be a force for good, a force for business, and a force available to anyone willing to try.
He has a strong appreciation for the category of “other,” and believes in a broad definition for the word “content” which can be seen in his 2017 work for Northwell Health - The Fin. What was originally briefed as a print ad, became the facilitation of a creative process that will change the lives of thousands of Americans.
He built a platform for Listerine that spanned 86 countries, and was made available to content creators in different cultures, different languages, and appropriated to different parts of their lives.
He created a Dubai Lynx and a MENA Effie award-winning campaign for Egyptian tourism. An ecosystem that used Instagram as its hub, it was influenced by a cinematic film that acted as a style guide for the nation, to tell the world about the Real Egypt.
Ben James was formerly the Managing Director of Creative Innovation at J. Walter Thompson New York, overseeing creative on Listerine, Northwell Health, Nestle and various other brands. From 2008 to 2011, he was with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) as a creative director/marketing agent, working for Diageo, Gap, Virgin Australia, and for entertainers such as Miley Cyrus. He began his career at Crispin Porter + Bogusky Miami/Los Angeles. His work has garnered accolades from the advertising and entertainment industries, including Cannes Lions, Clios, the Jay Chiat Awards, Effies, Obies, Adweek’s Project Isaacs, D&AD, Sundance Film Festival, MTV Video Music Awards, One Show and ANDYs, a Yahoo Big Idea Chair, a Webby, and many others.
Bio: Susan Kim-Kirkland
Susan Kim-Kirkland is a dynamic, entrepreneurial leader with a reputation for attracting best-in-class talent, building high-performance teams and driving high-impact growth initiatives for clients. She brings a unique combination of client, agency and entrepreneurial experience to her role. Kim-Kirkland has held increasingly senior account management and strategic planning roles at several top agencies in Canada, including Leo Burnett and BBDO, has deep client experience from her time at Xerox and as Marketing Director at Kellogg’s. In addition, she launched and sold her own successful boutique agency.
Under Kim-Kirkland’s leadership, JWT Canada has been a leading office within the network in transforming to a fully integrated offering. The Agency has landed on both Agency and Digital Agency of the Year shortlists for the last four years running, taking home two Silver wins, one in 2015, the Agency’s first ever medal in its 80-year history and again in 2017.
Bio: Brent Choi
As a ‘creative’ guy, for years Brent hid the fact he had graduated from one of Canada’s most prestigious business schools. And that he used to be an account guy. And that he won numerous math competitions. Okay, maybe keep that last one quiet still. Today as Chief Creative Officer of J. Walter Thompson New York & Canada, Brent’s unconventional path is the foundation of what’s made him successful.
His unique left brain/right brain approach has helped two different agencies transform into Canada’s Agency of the Year, two others to runner-up AOY, and his clients being named Brand and twice the Marketer of the Year. His work has led to over 20 Cannes Lions, and in fact in 2017, JWT NY had their best year at Cannes ever, resulting in being ranked #4 in the Gunn Report for NY agencies. To top it all off, in 2013, Brent was the #2 ranked Chief Creative Officer in the World for digital.
Brent’s work transcends the ad world, being featured in publications such as New York Times, Mashable, Forbes, CNN and even Sports Illustrated. Brent’s also been a speaker at Cannes, facebook and Google, and one of only 11 worldwide winners of the inaugural Fast Company Innovation by Design Award.
At home Brent transforms into a proud dad, insane NFL fan, and loving husband. His wife would add “In that order.”
About J. Walter Thompson Company
J. Walter Thompson (JWT) has been at the forefront of advertising for over 153 years, constantly evolving and drawing upon our unique and innovative DNA to reimagine the future for our clients and our agency. JWT has always been first, changing the course of the future for ourselves and our clients. We aired the first TV commercial, launched the first global campaign, promoted the first female creative director, rocketed the first candy bar into space, created the first amphibious prosthetic limb, and taught a computer to “paint” a 3D “Rembrandt.” For more information, visit www.jwt.com or @JWT_Worldwide on twitte