Deutsch, LA Taps Mark Hunter for CCO Post

Experience Outside U.S. 'Helped Him Clinch Spot'

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Deutsch, Los Angeles has tapped Mark Hunter as partner and chief creative officer, effective the end of January. Mr. Hunter was most recently CCO at Omnicom Group's TBWA in London, and replaces Eric Hirshberg, who earlier this year left adland to become CEO at Activision.

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter
Prior to TBWA, Mr. Hunter, a Canadian, spent time at a range of shops in Europe, including EuroRSCG, London, Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London.

Mike Sheldon, CEO of the Interpublic Group owned-Deutsch's west coast operation, told Ad Age he had been "looking for a great creative person, a great business person and a great human being -- someone I could sit on a plane with for six hours and enjoy myself." Mr. Sheldon had worked alongside with Mr. Hirshberg for nearly 17 years, and has spent the past four months intensely searching for his successor. "Not one day went by that we didn't spend time on [the search] ... and in my mind there is not one decision I could make in the next 10 years that would be more important than this decision," Mr. Sheldon said.

Of Mr. Hunter he remarked: "There's a mutual belief between us that there's nothing that's broken at this agency, it's about taking what's good and making it brilliant. There's room for him to take us to the next level creatively." He added that Mr. Hunter's experience working outside of the U.S. market helped him clinch the spot, since Deutsch wants to "bring someone new to the party."

Mr. Hunter's reaction to his new job? "I just think it's such a fucking amazing opportunity."

"I've worked with a lot of great guys and a lot of assholes, and I prefer the great guys, he said. "And what Mike's done is awesome, and he's surrounded himself with great people. They operate as an independent even though they have the backing of IPG ... and between Playstation and VW and Dr. Pepper, I think the ambition there is to go from being a very very good agency to a truly great agency and I don't see any reason why we can't do that."

TBWA, meanwhile is in the process of finding Mr. Hunter's replacement. Said Robert Harwood Matthews, President TBWA/UK: "Professionally it's very flattering that Deutsch rate our work so highly. We're already in the advanced stages of finding a new Executive Creative Director at TBWALondon – which will complete the reenergized exec team. I'd like to thank Mark for his work over the past year."

Mr. Hunter's hire also means that yet another big-agency job has been filled. Several large shops spent most of 2010 trying to fill vacancies in the top creative spot, and in the last few months of the year, Deutsch and others rushed to fill those positions. Peter Nicholson was recently named CCO at JWT, New York, and before that, Linus Karlsson was named CCO overseeing New York and London for McCann.

The agency last week picked up another new account in Diamond Foods, the maker of Kettle brand potato chips, Pop Secret popcorn and Emerald snack nuts, which was previously at Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

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