Publicis Worldwide has tapped brand strategist Jeremy Holden to serve as its first chief strategy officer in its New York office.
As part of the role, Mr. Holden will have responsibilities across both Publicis, New York, and Publicis Modem -- the pure-play digital arm that Publicis the ad agency has been more closely aligning itself with over the past year.
In a statement, Susan Giannino, Publicis USA chairman and CEO, said the creation of a top strategist in New York was driven by the agency's clients. "Strategy has been quietly evolving to a more prominent, pivotal role in developing cohesive conversations and communications for our clients."
In the new post, Mr. Holden will report to Joe McCarthy, the CEO of Publicis, New York. The two execs first met well over a year ago. "We weren't in a rush to fill a job with just a warm body," Mr. McCarthy said. "We unanimously felt he was the right guy in terms of background and vision, and also culturally he fit very well in at Publicis."
Most recently, Mr. Holden was a partner and director of account planning at Durham, N.C.-based indie shop McKinney. He left late last year to pen his first book -- dubbed "Culture Shifts" -- which is out next fall. Before that , he spent time at design shops in the U.S. and in the U.K.
Although Mr. Holden's responsibilities will include working with Modem, Mr. McCarthy batted off rumors that Modem is set to fade away. "To be clear, Modem is not going away and the Modem brand is still going to be our lead digital specialist brand as we go forward," said Mr. McCarthy. "They currently have accounts that are there for pure-play digital that have nothing to do with Publicis, New York, and that will continue for the foreseeable future." He noted that Publicis is in the midst of "evolving beyond being just a broadcast agency" and so what they are trying to do is "share skillsets where it makes sense."
"Strategy is an area that we think we can do that . ... [Mr. Holden] will have oversight in different disciplines in strategy, but there will be strategists who are still Modem people."
Still, Mr. Holden noted that the chance to work across both a traditional and digital agency network was part of the draw for the role. "It's something a little different for a big network agency and that 's part of the appeal for me." His first day will be Nov. 7th.