Muhtayzik Hoffer has hired former Saatchi & Saatchi New York Chief Creative Officer Jay Benjamin and Nick Johnson, most recently president of Interpublic Group's Gotham, to lead its newly opened New York City office.
Mr. Benjamin, who stepped down from his role at Saatchi on Sept. 1 after three years at the agency, will serve as executive creative director while Mr. Johnson will be president of the New York office.
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Benjamin report to Matt Hofherr, co-founder and director of strategy, and John Matejczyk, co-founder and executive creative director, who are based at the shop's San Francisco headquarters.
Before his stint as Saatchi chief creative officer, Mr. Benjamin served in a similar role in the New York office of Publicis Groupe sibling Leo Burnett. Throughout his career, Mr. Benjamin has earned more than 30 Cannes Lions, for work on a wide range of clients, from Canon to the Village Voice.
In January, Saatchi & Saatchi New York was named Creativity Innovators Comeback Agency, having seen a creative turnaround under Mr. Benjamin's leadership.
Muhtayzik Hoffer, named Advertising Age's Small Agency of the Year in 2014, was acquired by U.K. agency VCCP this spring. Now was the right time to open an office in New York because the city is "the center of the world," said Mr. Matejczyk. "It's the media capital of the world and the cultural capital of the world."
The agency already works with New York-based kitchen appliance and home utensil maker OXO. Mr. Matejczyk said several technology staffers and developers are also currently in the city. Muhtayzik Hoffer plans to announce a new strategy director for New York soon, he said.
Additionally, Muhtayzik Hoffer announced today that Michelle Spear Nicholson, who has been at the agency for seven years, has been named the first partner outside of Mr. Matejczyk and Mr. Hofherr. She had already managed integrated production in San Francisco and will now oversee production in New York as well.