Nancy Reyes is being elevated to Chief Executive Officer of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York.
Reyes, most recently president of the Omnicom Group agency, is succeeding Rob Schwartz, who takes on a newly created role as chair of the TBWA New York group, which includes TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, Lucky Generals New York and 180NY. In his new position, Schwartz will be charged with growing the three shops, and “bring to bear his knowledge of the TBWA collective, the agencies’ distinct offerings and the synergies among them,” the company said.
“Nancy has been a true partner in rebuilding the agency and she has earned this next step to lead TBWA\Chiat\Day New York,” says Schwartz, who has held the CEO role since 2015. The agency credits Reyes, who joined in 2016 as managing director, with helping the shop notch 180% revenue growth over the last five years, thanks to clients including Hilton, TD Bank, Facebook and PepsiCo. In her new role, Reyes will report to Troy Ruhanen, CEO of TBWA\Worldwide.
No successor has been named for Reyes as yet.
“I am super proud of this agency,” says Reyes in an interview. “I feel the agency has really turned around from a number of different vantage points, from being a creative powerhouse, to the work we are doing, the clients we are working with, as well as financially.”
That said, Reyes notes, “I never want to feel like it’s done or we have checked all the boxes—but you have to celebrate every small bit of progress.”
Within the past year, the shop has added the PepsiCo's Bubly and Rise energy drink, the Lays brand from Frito-Lay, Facebook Oculus and Abbott, and hired more than 60 employees despite the pandemic. Reyes has also been leading diversity efforts at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, which says it has filled 55 open positions with diverse candidates since July of last year.
As for rising within the industry as a woman of color, Reyes says “it is hard sometimes to keep plugging away when sometimes the world isn’t so welcoming.” But then she adds, “I’m such a go-getter—I’m always looking at what’s next, I haven’t done this yet—that I have to stop myself and say ‘Wait a minute, I am a CEO’ and take that in. I have got to do that for myself, for my kids and for other people of color because success is so fleeting.”
Reyes was a 2019 Ad Age Woman to Watch (since renamed Leading Women) and has worked both client and agency side. She joined TBWA\Chiat\Day New York from Verizon, where she was VP of marketing creative and is a former managing director of Goodby Silverstein & Partners’ New York office.
Her elevation is being announced the same week that a number of other women agency executives are receiving promotions or taking on new posts. Mindshare named Amanda Richman CEO of North America, who moved from U.S. CEO of Wavemaker; Omnicom Media Group’s PHD tapped Katie Klein president of integrated investment; and GSD&M President Marianne Malina is assuming the global CEO post at MDC Partners’ CPB. Last week, IPG Mediabrands appointed Marlene Pelage as global chief financial officer.
Asked about the timing, Reyes says,“Maybe women are having a moment, but I feel like we’ve been here all this entire time working away. With every one of us who gets elevated, companies are inspired to elevate more women, and for every person of color who gets elevated, the same is true. The more we have at the top, the more will rise.”
Do you know a female executive that’s empowering their team, driving change, advocating for diversity and inclusion, and galvanizing the business? Nominate them for Ad Age’s annual Leading Women program here.