BBH New York has announced shifts in its top tier of leadership, promoting former Chief Creative Officer John Patroulis to the newly created post of creative chairman and Executive Creative Director Ari Weiss to CCO. The moves coincide with the announcement of the departure of Chairman Emma Cookson, a founding member of the office. She will be leaving the agency to pursue new, yet undetermined, creative opportunities.
Mr. Patroulis said that growth on the business side and creative momentum prompted the changes. "We grew like crazy, we've been growing a lot of our capabilities and it's changed who we are," he said. "We had hit a point where we wanted to take a very hard look and make a shift."
Last year was the highest single growth year in the agency's history, with a revenue increase of over 50 percent. The agency also earned eight Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, including Film and Cyber Gold for the Sony Playstation "Greatness Awaits" campaign.
Moreover, BBH New York expanded its offerings to include PR, analytics and back-end solutions. Outside of Sony Playstation, BBH global clients include Newell Rubbermaid, Vaseline, Unilever, The Guardian and Westin Hotels.
In his new role, Mr. Patroulis will oversee all creative output of the agency, internal PR and all future creative capabilities. "What it really means is that we'll be putting creativity at the center of the entire business, which is what BBH has always been about," he said.
"Whenever you're doing great work and clients are allowing you to innovate and touch multiple platforms, as you're experimenting you realize where your growth potential is," said Mr. Weiss. "We've been seeing what's possible, but we want to grow into an even more impressive expression of that."
CEO Pat Lafferty said the agency launched its PR offering, for example, in response to needs of client Rubbermaid.
For the PlayStation's "Greatness Awaits" campaign, outside of traditional broadcast, the agency created a full-blown digital auction house that allowed PS fans to bid on game memorabilia.
At BBH, Mr. Weiss has created award-winning campaigns for PlayStation and AXE as well as work for UNICEF, Sprite and The Weather Channel. In the CCO role, he's most excited about further building out the agency's creative team and "touching all the brands here." The new post "gives me a little broader scope, but at the end of the day, the remit is simple -- it's make the work better and better."
With the new roles in place, "now we have this four-person leadership team that is weighted more toward creative," said Mr. Lafferty. "By bringing two people from the creative discipline, it's going to help the overall agency vision."
Ms. Cookson's last day at the agency will be Feb. 20. During her tenure, she served in multiple leadership roles, including global head of strategic planning, New York CEO and North America Chairman. "You read a lot about the power of brands with purpose; I've been privileged to spend many years of my career at an agency with purpose," she said in a statement. "BBH has taught me how to build iconic, business-transforming brands and advertising. But most of all it's taught me that you can do so without sacrificing personal decency and integrity along the way. As the agency enters its next chapter, I'm very excited to do the same. I hope to live up to BBH values and standards along the way."
Of Ms.Cookson's departure, Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Watson said, "She is legendary, an incredible force of nature. She willed BBH New York into being and you almost can't pay tribute to her enough. We've had way more than our fair share of her, and I'd be flabbergasted if we don't see her doing something enormous very soon."