Jonah Disend, who sold his strategy and design firm Redscout to MDC Partners in 2007, is moving on up. He's stepping into a newly created post that will allow him to work across other shops under the Toronto-based holding company umbrella, such as 72andSunny, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners and CP&B.
"It's a way to keep me motivated and keep me part of the larger MDC family," Mr. Disend said. "I didn't consider leaving but I wanted to make sure that we have more runway to grow."
Among other things, Mr. Disend will lead a global study focused on changing category dynamics and emerging marketing trends and will also be called in to help clients of MDC agencies better compete in markets such as China and India. For now he's going to continue running Redscout while focusing on the new job. Going forward, though, he'll hire a managing director for the New York office, and then eventually elevate a group of people who "will really be able to run the show."
Redscout has about 50 staffers in San Francisco and in New York and counts as clients Diageo and Kate Spade.
His new title is an odd sort of mashup: "innovator-at-large." Asked where it came from, Mr. Disend said, "I love the editor-at-large title [in publishing]. It's sort of noncommittal and yet it sounds vaguely important."
He added: "I really wanted to reinforce innovation. There's an effort for MDC to be seen as innovative and because they're not Omnicom or WPP, where everything has 'account' in its name. They like to be more quirky ... it fits more with the personality of the place."
"Quirky" is one word for it, but "over the top" is better; before Alex Bogusky departed the company, he was crowned "chief creative insurgent."