Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles has named Jason Schragger its chief creative officer.
The shop hadn't had a chief creative officer until now. Executive creative directors Margaret Keene and Chris Adams had been running creative for the agency, but Mr. Adams left in November. Ms. Keene will now report to Mr. Schragger, although his purview will in some ways extend beyond the agency itself.
The agency first decided to create the post in December, when Toyota announced a "more cohesive marketing approach" and placed separate agencies into a model referred to as "Total Toyota," Saatchi said in a statement.
Saatchi LA was selected to spearhead the new model, which also includes four other agencies with existing Toyota partnerships, including Publicis Groupe's African-American shop Burrell Communications, Hispanic agency Conill Advertising, media agency Zenith and indie Asian-American-focused InterTrend Communications.
The appointment also comes less than two months after news broke that Toyota would be relocating its U.S. sales and marketing force from Southern California to Plano, Texas. The move will take two years to complete, and most of Toyota's 5,000 Torrance, Calif.-based headquarters management and employees will be affected.
The move to Plano posed questions about what that meant for Saatchi L.A., whose sole client is Toyota. (Sister agency Team One, in El Segundo, Calif., handles Lexus.)
Even with Mr. Schragger's appointment, the agency is reluctant to confirm one way or another whether Saatchi will stay in Los Angeles, move to Texas for Toyota or open a service shop there. "Saatchi LA has been a valuable partner to Toyota for more than four decades, and the hiring of Jason Schragger as our first-ever Chief Creative Officer further demonstrates our dedication to continuing to provide them with outstanding work." said Mr. Maguy in a statement. "Since Toyota's announcement of their future relocation in late April, we have been engaged in regular discussions with them to determine the best way to support their marketing efforts upon commencement of operations in Plano."
"We welcome Jason to the Toyota family at Saatchi," said Jack Hollis, VP-marketing, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., in a statement. "Toyota's Brand Leadership Team will benefit from Jason's years of diverse, creative experience. Together with our agency partners, in the total market model, Total Toyota or T2, we look forward to maintaining brand leadership and connecting with consumers in ways most relevant to them."
Mr. Schragger, 40 and a native of Zimbabwe, is a longtime auto creative and comes to Saatchi from Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, the agency that handles Nissan and Infiniti. In all, he's worked on Ford, Mercedes, BMW Mini, Mitsubishi and Nissan in various parts of the world throughout his career. He has also worked on Adidas, HSBC, and Johnnie Walker. Mr. Schragger previously had posts at Lowe and Partners in Singapore, StrawberryFrog, BSUR, Plantage and BBH.
"As someone who quite literally grew up in this industry, Saatchi L.A. has always been an agency I have held in high regard," said Mr. Schragger.