Deutsch has beefed up its leadership on both coasts with the appointment of new creative chiefs in the Los Angeles and New York offices. Dan Kelleher, who most recently served as co-chief creative officer at KBS in New York, will become chief creative officer-partner in New York, while Jason Bagley, the former Wieden & Kennedy creative director, who is perhaps best known for highly lauded Old Spice work including the "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign, will become partner and Los Angeles chief creative officer.
Mr. Kelleher starts in his new position next week and fills a post that has been vacant since the departure of former Chief Creative Officer Kerry Keenan last August. "Dan was the absolute perfect choice," said North American Chief Creative Officer Pete Favat. "We talked to a lot of people, and, to be honest, it was hard to find someone with the right creative, tech, strategy and client skills."
While at KBS, Mr. Kelleher had led creative alongside former Co-Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Mackler and oversaw work for Simmons, Windstream and BMW. Work for the latter included story-driven spots promoting the X5 as well as digitally sophisticated campaigns such as the recent 360-degree interactive film that challenged viewers to keep their eye on supermodel Gigi Hadid. He's perhaps best known as executive creative director on Grey New York's high-profile "Cable Effects" campaign, which earned a slew of industry accolades as well as a shout-out from former President Bill Clinton as his favorite commercial work. Previously, he also served at shops including BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi and Cliff Freeman & Partners.
Mr. Kelleher's appointment is the latest in the agency's attempt to fortify the New York office. While he will work alongside New York CEO Val DiFebo, he'll also be part of a three-pronged leadership structure balanced on creative, strategy and technology, a setup that's been successful for the agency in Los Angeles. He'll team with Chief Technology Officer Trevor O'Brien and Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Dawson, both of whom joined the agency earlier this year.
Mr. Bagley will begin at the agency in mid-May and will take over direct oversight of L.A. creative, for clients including Volkswagen, Taco Bell, Target and Sprint. Along with Old Spice's "TMYMCSL" his CV also includes other decorated work like "Mom Song," and "Muscle Music," recent celebrity-driven ads for Samsung as well as work for Nike, EA Sports and CareerBuilder.
"The thing that Jason is going to bring is an extreme attention to the quality of the work," said Mr. Favat. Moreover, "he's just one of the nicest people on the planet and is super talented and super humble. We needed someone with an extremely high creative pedigree, but also someone who could work with our ECDs."
"My sadness in leaving all my dear friends at W&K is matched only by how excited I am about this opportunity at Deutsch," said Mr. Bagley in a statement. "I love Tacos and German cars, and my wife loves Target and Dr Pepper, so it's a perfect fit for the Bagley family."
Having someone on the ground in Los Angeles had become increasingly crucial to the agency's long-term growth plans, said Mr. Favat. In January of last year, Mr. Favat had been elevated to the North American chief creative officer alongside similar national promotions of CEO Mike Sheldon and Chief Digital Officer Winston Binch as part of the agency's long-term growth strategy. At the time, Mr. Favat continued to oversee Los Angeles creative, and after the departure of Ms. Keenan last year, New York became part of his duties as well. "I was getting distracted," he said. " I found it very hard to be the day-to-day person in L.A., also constantly in the air meeting clients, doing new business. Over time, we all realized I can't be doing the day to day while focusing on our future vision because there were things starting to fall through the cracks."
The new appointments now free Mr. Favat and the rest of North American leadership to focus on overall agency growth, which includes not just new business, but also the development of new initiatives such as DeutschMusic, which led to the agency's collaboration with Grammy nominee Charlie Puth, and Steelhead, its 48,000 square-foot production facility set to open this September to help further support clients' ever-increasing content production needs.
Meanwhile, Mr. Favat stressed that the intention is to have New York and Los Angeles be complementary parts of a whole. Following the North American promotions from last year, "there was a lot of talk from people and we were hearing 'You're going to impose everything you're doing in L.A. on New York,'" said Mr. Favat. "That is absolutely not true. The foundational aspect of New York and its partners are very solid. What we needed to do was not set up an identical twin, but form our own culture there that could inspire the office in L.A. too. The way we're looking at it is, if Deutsch New York was 1.0 when Donny was there, and L.A. was 2.0, then New York is going to be 3.0 and L.A. will learn from that and be 4.0. We can grow and learn from each other."