CAA Marketing Co-Chief Creative Officer Jesse Coulter has announced he will be leaving the company. Mr. Coulter joined the marketing division of the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency in 2006 and is departing on his own accord, in the hopes of moving onto his next creative pursuit, which is yet to be determined.
"I've been at CAA for nine years, and it's time for a new challenge," he said. "I came here from Wieden & Kennedy, and it was a leap of faith -- I had wanted to try something new. I feel like I accomplished a lot, and now it's on to the next challenge. I'm turning 39 this year, and I wanted to find new creative energy and push myself again. I came to CAA as a scared little boy, and I'm leaving as a scared little man. I think people are best in those situations."
He's joking when he says "little," since Mr. Coulter stands well over 6 feet tall. He joined CAA as a creative director in 2006 after working as a creative at W&K, New York and eventually rose up the ranks to become co-CCO alongside Jae Goodman.
Together, they accomplished a lot. The pair, who were named to the Creativity 50 last year and in 2012, joined the talent agency with the intention of putting at center stage creative ideas that in the traditional agency world usually got pushed to the "back of the book," such as branded content and entertainment plays.
They proved the impact of such an approach with Cannes Grand Prix-winning work for Chipotle, including the "Back to the Start" campaign, which also earned a 2013 Gold Effie and the follow-up integrated push, "The Scarecrow," which included a Pixar-worthy animated short film and mobile game. Work for Chipotle also includes the annual food and music festival, "Chipotle Cultivate," which last year saw an attendance of 40,000 at its San Franciso stop. "I feel like that's something that would have been hard to pull of at an agency," Mr. Coulter said.
Mr. Coulter spoke today at the 4A's Transformation Conference in Austin about how a non-traditional client (Chipotle), a big Hollywood talent firm (CAA) and integrated agency (GSD&M) partnered to create award-winning work.
A spokesman from CAA Marketing said it's against company policy to speak about employee moves, so she could not comment on Mr. Coulter's departure and whether or not the shop would be seeking a replacement for him. Mr. Coulter said he hasn't finalized his departure date yet, but is looking at sometime in April.
As of now, Mr. Coulter has not determined his next step, but he said he's "open to all options," whether that be working at a traditional agency, going client-side or even starting his own thing. "I realized that when I wake up in the morning, I think about how to make an idea better," he said. "Whatever I do next, that has to be the focus of it. Also, I need to try new things, do things people haven't done yet. That's what I'm looking for."