Digital Kitchen Taps Former Olson Creative Chief Dennis Ryan as CEO

Move Comes Around a Year After Kyu Acquired the Shop

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Incoming Digital Kitchen CEO Dennis Ryan
Incoming Digital Kitchen CEO Dennis Ryan Credit: Photo taken by Maria Erikson

Digital Kitchen has brought on former Olson Chief Creative Officer Dennis Ryan as CEO, a move that comes about a year after Kyu, part of Japanese holding company Hakuhodo DY Holdings, acquired the creative and digital shop.

Mr. Ryan, who left Olson in July 2015 after serving as its first CCO for nearly four and a half years, is succeeding former Digital Kitchen chief executive Bill Fritsch. Mr. Fritsch will continue working at Digital Kitchen in an advisory position and will remain on the agency's board.

Starting officially on May 17, Mr. Ryan will report to Kyu CEO Michael Birkin and will be based in the Chicago office. Digital Kitchen also has offices in Seattle and Los Angeles.

Most recently, Mr. Ryan served as principal at Fetrow Ryan & Partners, an agency he co-founded with former Olson Executive Creative Director Mike Fetrow. The shop is disbanding and Mr. Fetrow is exploring other options, said Mr. Ryan.

One of Mr. Ryan's first objectives is to make Digital Kitchen's offerings clearer, particularly the shop's tie to the entertainment industry, which he said helps differentiate it in the market place. Some of Digital Kitchen's current clients include Netflix, Microsoft, AT&T, Tableau Software and Coca-Cola. The shop also previously created the main title sequence for Showtime's "Dexter."

"The key is to find a way to make what I think is a tremendous culture and working product more accessible and relevant to more clients," he said.

Prior to Olson, Mr. Ryan spent nearly 10 years as the chief creative officer at Omnicom's Element 79. He has also held senior creative roles at DDB Needham and JWT in Chicago.

In addition to Digital Kitchen, Kyu's portfolio of agencies include C2, Red Peak Group (made up of Red Peak Branding and Infrared), Sid Lee, SY/Partners and a minority stake in Ideo.

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