Doner CEO Alan Kalter told Advertising Age the hiring marks the end of a nine-month search for a successor for Vice Chairman-Chief Creative Officer John DeCerchio, who started in the agency's mailroom but worked his way into creative and has held the top creative post for the past 12 years.
Mr. Kalter said the hiring was a planned transition at the independent agency sparked last year by "a family health issue" for Mr. DeCerchio and his desire to spend more time with his family.
The independent is creating a position for Mr. DeCerchio, who will develop materials to market the agency. In that role, he won't oversee new business, which is now handled by James Ward. Mr. Ward succeeded Bryan Yolles, who last month joined Universal McCann, New York.
"There isn't any question that Rob will raise the bar in every aspect of our work. We can't wait for him to get here," Mr. DeCerchio said.
Mr. Strasberg started his career in 1994 at creative boutique Grace & Rothschild, New York, where he learned craft from the legendary Roy Grace and Diane Rothschild after making the leap from account management to the creative. He joined Crispin in 1999 and has worked on brands such as Burger King, Mini and Volkswagen.
Mr. Kalter called him "a multi-talented creative guy who works in all mediums" and has won awards in TV, online, print and outdoor. He said the last time Doner hired an outsider for the top creative post was in the early 1960s.
The agency has had its share of account losses last year, although Mr. Kalter said Doner has had "all gains" in the past few months, including Expedia's interactive business, Ideacast and Pennzoil.
"Doner has great clients," said Mr. Strasberg in a statement. He said he likes the idea of working for an independent agency. "It means I'll be able to focus on the work, which is why I got into advertising in the first place."