Leo Burnett's Jay Benjamin Named Saatchi New York's Chief Creative Officer

Position Has Been Vacant Since Con Williamson's Exit

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Jay Benjamin
Jay Benjamin Credit: Chris Casaburi
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Saatchi & Saatchi New York has appointed a new chief creative officer from within the Publicis Groupe family. Jay Benjamin, who held the top creative spot at Leo Burnett's New York office since it opened in 2011, will assume the position April 21.

The role has been vacant since Con Williamson left the agency in December for Erwin Penland, part of Interpublic Group's Hill Holliday.

Mr. Benjamin, who was formerly exec creative director at Leo Burnett Sydney, came to New York to set up the shop's Big Apple office as part of the agency's efforts to attract talent to the network's U.S. operation.

Both Saatchi CEO Brent Smart and Mr. Benjamin have some Australasian connections -- Mr. Smart came to Saatchi in 2011 after spending seven years as Colenso BBDO's managing director in New Zealand.

In a statement, Mr. Smart -- who took over as CEO in November -- said, "I really wanted the next big name in creativity and I truly believe that's Jay. I love that his work pushes the very definition of what advertising is -- from an off-Broadway play to Photochains to a marketplace for words on Twitter."

New York-born Mr. Benjamin said he's "always loved the Saatchi & Saatchi brand."

While at Leo Burnett New York, Mr. Benjamin helmed projects like the artsy "New York Writes Itself," a crowdsourced off-Broadway play for The Village Voice that won the first Cannes Gold Lion for Branded Content in 2012.

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