America Gets Its Own CMO

Perkins to Lead Marketing at Corporation for Travel Promotion

By Published on .

A Boston agency CEO has been recruited to lead the marketing of brand USA to the rest of the world.

Chris Perkins, the president-CEO of Blitz Media and a 25-year agency veteran, has been named chief marketing officer at the Corporation for Travel Promotion. The CTP is a nonprofit entity newly created by Congress to help attract foreign interest -- for both business and travel -- to America.

His hire completes a search the group began earlier this summer.

The announcement of Mr. Perkins' hire comes, in atypical fashion, after the completion of an agency review last week . After a swift pitch, WPP-owned network JWT was named creative agency of record for the travel group, beating out WPP's Ogilvy and Omnicom Group's DDB in the final leg of the process.

In his new post, Mr. Perkins will be responsible for overseeing a marketing budget of $200 million. In addition to working with JWT on a new global ad campaign, he will be striking up partnerships with other marketers and creating social media and PR strategy for the CTP. Mr. Perkins said in a statement: "I'm honored and thrilled to lead the creation of a campaign that will capture the American spirit and all that our great nation has to offer international visitors."

Prior to Blitz, Mr. Perkins spent time at Havas' Arnold in Boston and at Publicis Groupe -owned Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco. "He is an innovative thinker with big ideas who has developed powerful marketing campaigns for countless major brands," CTP CEO Jim Evans said in a statement. "Chris' passion for the CTP's mission was evident throughout our many conversations and we are very fortunate to have him on board leading our marketing efforts."

Blitz's plans to replace Mr. Perkins are unclear, but in the time being, Melissa Lea, the former head of new business at Boston-based Mullen, will step in to lead the agency.

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