Leslie Sims signs on with Deloitte Digital as chief creative officer
Leslie Sims is joining Deloitte Digital as chief creative officer.
One of the industry’s few female chief creatives, Sims was most recently chief creative officer at WPP's Ogilvy and held the same role at the shop then known as Y&R, and was a longtime creative director at McCann Worldgroup. Sims will also hold the title of managing director of Deloitte Consulting in her new role, which will encompass working with Deloitte Digital’s business strategy, design, technology and data capabilities with the aim of “developing brand-defining experiences,” the company said. Part of her remit will include Heat, Deloitte’s agency, which has now been folded into the larger group helmed by Sims.
With the hire of Sims—who joins other recent hires Rich Whalen, former McCann chief operating officer; Executive Creative Directors Milton Correa and Jones Krahl; along with 600 & Rising Founder Nathan Young—Deloitte Digital, which refers to itself as a creative digital consultancy, is working to shatter the perception that consultancies are behind the creativity curve.
“I was one of those people,” laughs Sims, when asked about the contention raised by holding companies that consultancies are less creative than agencies. But clearly she is of that opinion no longer. “When you look at the credentials of Deloitte and Deloitte Digital, clients are at the center of all the things they do. They have been developing capabilities to be best in class and that is what allowed them entrance into the c-suites. They are totally focused on the client,” says Sims.
Sims says that marketing’s focus has shifted over the past 10 years from advertising to engaging the consumer on the end-to-end journey from acquisition to purchase and retention. At Deloitte, working with Nelson Kunkel, global chief design officer and chief creative officer for India Ayan Pal, her team will have access to what she calls a “Star Wars bar” of all the firm has to offer, from user experience to ad tech, martech, performance analytics, business strategy and more, to shape creative and bring humanity to the products and services it builds for clients.
“As a creative, all we want to do is make things and see them go out into this world,” says Sims, noting that in her early discussions with Deloitte execs she made a fanciful suggestion of shooting a rocket into space and was surprised by their response: We can make that happen. There is “an unending Pandora’s box” of creative potential at Deloitte, she says. “They are comfortable going into unfamiliar territory and as a creative that is absolute music to my ears.”
An additional benefit: As a privately held company, Deloitte is not beholden to quarterly public earnings reports and can play a longer-term game than agencies. There’s “no infighting for revenue” which is “a structure that allows for more generosity,” says Sims, noting that the mindset in agencies is often more of a “we have a great idea, what client can we take that to?” rather than being purely focused on an idea in service of a specific client.
That said, this being Deloitte, Sims says she is unable to discuss specific clients on the roster or upcoming work. But on its site, Deloitte Digital lists creating digital ordering systems for Taco Bell; fashioning a digital shoe finder and personalized online shopping experience for New Balance; and fashioning a new app for Lamborghini, centered upon uniqueness to create a connection between consumers and their cars.
“I could not be more excited about Leslie joining our Deloitte Digital team," says John Peto, principal at Deloitte Consulting and head of Deloitte Digital. "Leslie has built her career using insights and creative ideas to drive sustainable business growth and I have no doubt that her creative leadership will fuel new growth for clients, inspire our talent and elevate the human experience for everyone with whom she works.”
She may even fire a rocket.