BBDO Hires First Female Chief Creative Officer in the U.S.

Former CP&B Exec Robin Fitzgerald Takes Reins in Atlanta

By Published on .

Robin Fitzgerald, EVP-Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Atlanta.
Robin Fitzgerald, EVP-Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Atlanta. Credit: BBDO

Omnicom's BBDO has named former CPB L.A. Executive Creative Director Robin Fitzgerald as EVP-chief creative officer of its Atlanta office. Her appointment marks the first time a woman has held a chief creative post in a BBDO office in the U.S.

During her five years at Crispin, Ms. Fitzgerald helped to lead high-profile work for brands including Grey Poupon, Netflix, PayPay, Old Navy and Vitamin Water. Highlights of her tenure there include the cheeky Grey Poupon social campaign that allowed only individuals with "good taste" to "Like" the brand, as well as the modern-day resurrection of the mustard's classic "Pardon Me" ad.

She also led global creative on PayPal, including the brand's first-ever Super Bowl ad and a U.K. Christmas campaign.

Prior to CP&B, Ms. Fitzgerald worked at TBWA/Chiat/Day, L.A., on brands such as Energizer, Gatorade and Nissan. She started her advertising career in Nebraska as a copywriter at Bozell, after graduating from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

"I love places that love making great work and am looking forward to making a lot of it with the team in Atlanta," said Ms. Fitzgerald in a statement.

Ms. Fitzgerald starts her new post on September 12. Her appointment follows the recent departure of former Atlanta CCO Will Boudreau to The&Partnership, as well as Omnicom CEO John Wren's earnings call statement from April in which he said that BBDO planned to double the number of its female senior creatives in the subsequent twelve months.

However, BBDO Global Chief Creative Officer David Lubars said Ms. Fitzgerald was hired solely on merit, after the agency met with male and female candidates alike.

"I hired her because she's the best person," he said. "Talent is our first criteria. And she gets today's world. She gets technology, analytics. She's a native to what's going on in the world right now, and I feel she has the gravitas and leadership to be a great partner with Drew [Panayiotou, president and CEO of the Atlanta office].

Such skills will be crucial given recent shifts at the agency, added Mr. Panayiotou, who joined the agency in 2014 after a three-year tenure at Best Buy and has been steadily bolstering the agency's multichannel advertising and marketing capabilities. Current clients include AT&T, Bayer, Toys "R" Us, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Novant Health and the Georgia State Lottery.

"The agency has become kind of this specialty shop for complicated brands, and you just need a creative leader and an organization that is multidimensional," he said. "We've been hiring creative technologists, folks that understand front-end design, back-end development, customer experience, and development of ideas against that. We've become this agency that goes well beyond the 30 and because of that we need a leader that can manage a really diverse pool of creative talent."

Just as important, "when we were having breakfast in L.A. it was clear that she could crystallize challenges down to their essence and make them simple. Being on the client side for a long time, you don't see that too often."

Along with Mr. Panayiotou, Ms. Fitzgerald will partner with another top female leader, EVP-Chief Strategy Officer Tricia Russo, who joined from Y&R Chicago last year.

CP&B Los Angeles says it will not be replacing Ms. Fitzgerald. Chief Creative Officer Kevin Jones, who was promoted to the post in March, will continue to oversee the accounts she had worked on.

Most Popular