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DDB Chicago Names John Maxham Chief Creative Officer

Fills Post Left Vacant by Ewan Peterson, Who Exited in August

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In the latest change to the senior management ranks at DDB Chicago, John Maxham has been brought in as the shop's new chief creative officer.

He fills a key position at the agency that's been open since former CCO Ewan Paterson left the agency in August to head back to his hometown London with plans to hang his own shingle. Mr. Maxham will start in early February, working alongside former Tribal DDB head Paul Gunning; Mr. Gunning was named DDB Chicago's CEO in July, replacing Peter McGuinness, who led the agency for two years.

John Maxham
John Maxham

Mr. Gunning said he had more than three dozen candidates for the top creative role, but decided on Mr. Maxham because of a mutual interest in and understand of the archetypal American consumer. The agency, which works with blue chip brands like McDonald's, State Farm, Capital One and Safeway, "is uniquely set up for very big enterprises" and that the shop "understand the everyday American consumer better than anybody" said Mr. Gunning.

"He understands our Midwestern roots, and we really do have this shared vision that we can kick ass with that kind of positioning. It's easier to sell a vision when you live it and you are it," said Mr. Gunning.

He also has prior experience working at the agency. Most recently he worked at WPP's Cole & Weber in Seattle, where he was managing partner and executive creative director and worked on clients including Microsoft. But prior to his four-year stint at Cole & Weber, he was group creative director at DDB Chicago for the AT&T business. He's also spent time at Omnicom's Team one and Interpublic's Lowe Worldwide.

He said that what drew him to the job was Mr. Gunning's digital background and the agency's "structural move to set itself up to be one of the best integrated agencies anywhere."

"What impressed me about Paul and DDB Chicago was not just his digital chops but that he respects the craft of building big brand ideas, and he's embracing tech without losing the craft."

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