Arnold hires former Brookstone CMO Kiran Smith as its new CEO

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Kiran Smith was appointed CEO of Arnold Worldwide on June 28, 2018.
Kiran Smith was appointed CEO of Arnold Worldwide on June 28, 2018. Credit: Courtesy Arnold Worldwide

Arnold has named Kiran Smith — a former Brookstone CMO who also worked at Accenture and Alliance Consulting Group — as its new CEO.

The Havas-owned agency confirmed in April that its CEO Pam Hamlin and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Scott Feyler planned to depart. Hamlin had joined the shop 20 years ago, became its global president in 2013 and was named CEO in 2015. At the time, Hamlin said she had decided to explore "what's next" for her, and said it was the right time for new leadership to take the agency forward. Feyler was departing for a new position, the agency said at the time.

MediaLink conducted the search for Hamlin's replacement.

Hamlin will remain at the agency until later this summer to help Smith transition to her new role. Smith will start July 9 and work at the shop's Boston's headquarters alongside Icaro Doria, who joined as chief creative officer in August from DDB New York.

Before working at Brookstone, Smith had been VP-marketing at Stride Rite. She has also had roles in professional services at Accenture and Alliance Consulting.

Smith knows she's an unconventional choice, without having experience at a traditional agency. But she sees that as an advantage.

"I'm coming in with fresh eyes," without any of the trappings of how things have always been done, she says. "I'm a computer science major — that is not the typical marketing path."

Smith says she was drawn back to services-side work because of the breadth of projects, a variety of clients across industries and the ability to constantly learn new things. But from her marketer-side years, she says she knows what brands are looking for, and who the best partners are. "I've been on both sides of the coin here," she says.

Paul Marobella, chairman and CEO of Havas Creative North America, said in a statement that Smith's blend of experiences would help the agency in a changing marketing world.

"The landscape is changing and requires an approach that blends top-tier business strategy with an understanding of a client's challenges and how to bring solutions to life through creativity," he said.

Asked whether the agency's employees are open to taking more of a business strategy eye to creative work, Smith doesn't seem worried. She says the agency's people know the industry is changing.

"They want to win," she says.

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