Steve Stoute Hires Chief Creative Officer at Translation

Indie Shop Poaches Chris Cereda From KBS&P

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As part of his plan to evolve Translation from a multicultural agency into a general-market shop, Steve Stoute has tapped Chris Cereda to serve as the agency's new chief creative officer.

The executive has in the past worked at traditional creative shops such as McCann. Most recently, Mr. Cereda served as executive creative director at MDC Partners-owned KBS&P, working on accounts such as BMW and Steak & Shake. The move means going from a big pond to a small one. New York-based KBS&P has a total of about 500 staffers, while Translation, which has doubled in size in the past year, has less than 100. Both agencies made Ad Age 's list of 10 standout agencies for 2011.

According to Mr. Stoute, the talks have been going on for about two months. But the agency's been in need of a new top creative for more than a year, ever since its previous leader, Jason Peterson, defected to Havas' Euro in Chicago.

"I was probably being snobby about it but also looking for the right character fit, since I'm really highly involved with the agency and the creative that leaves this place," Mr. Stoute told Ad Age . "As Translation started to win more business and gain more clients' trust, it also put the agency in a place where the right level of creative talent would consider coming to the agency."

Translation has been around since 2004, but it was only last year -- coinciding with its buyback from former parent Interpublic Group of Cos. -- that the shop seemed to really find its footing and begin playing on a larger stage. It convinced A-B InBev that it was worthy of handling Bud Light work and will be doing a Super Bowl spot next month for the Platinum product line. Its other clients include McDonald's, State Farm, Coca-Cola and Nokia.

Mr. Cereda, who officially starts in mid-February, will join a newly formed management team at Translation that includes President Leeann Leahy and Chief Strategy Officer John Greene. "I've worked on a lot of spirits brands and lifestyle brands throughout my career so the fit feels natural," Mr. Cereda said.

Mr. Stoute noted that there's more staff additions coming. "There will be a lot of hiring going on," he said.

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