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W+K Portland Managing Director to Depart for YouTube

By Published on .

Tom Blessington
Tom Blessington Credit: Wieden+Kennedy

Wieden + Kennedy Portland managing director Tom Blessington is leaving the agency for YouTube, where he's been appointed VP-brand, media & experiences. It's a new position at the Google-owned company.

Blessington will handle brand strategy and integrated marketing campaigns.

The role extends across YouTube's various businesses, including YouTube Red, the company's paid streaming subscription service, music and original series.

Under Blessington's decade-long leadership at Wieden + Kennedy, the company created award-winning campaigns for brands like KFC, Samsung and Facebook.

He'll report to YouTube Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Tiedt, who says his "rule-breaker" spirit was what made him so attractive to the company. "We're entering a lot of different spaces and in some cases, we're really building the market," Tiedt tells Ad Age, using the example of YouTube TV. Part of Blessington's job, she says, will be "thinking about how YouTube wins in those spaces."

As YouTube's viewership increasingly watches the company's content on TV sets, the implications for advertisers are being closely watched. In its second-quarter earnings call in July, Google said YouTube has 1.5 billion monthly users consuming about 60 minutes of content each day. On the call, CEO Sundar Pichai said, "The fastest growing screen for YouTube is in the living room."

Karrelle Dixon
Karrelle Dixon Credit: Wieden+Kennedy

Karrelle Dixon, Wieden + Kennedy's director of growth markets, replaces Blessington as managing director.

President of W+K Dave Luhr said in a statement that the only "antidote to this pain" of losing Blessington was the promotion of Dixon.

"[Dixon] is, hands down, one of the most inspiring, innovative leaders in this business," Luhr said in a statement. "Maybe that helps explain how he was running our biggest account (Global Nike Account Director) at age 31. We look forward to seeing his impact in Portland."

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