BBDO Taps Former Best Buy CMO to Lead Atlanta

Move Will Be Drew Panayiotou's First Job on Agency Side

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Drew Panayiotou
Drew Panayiotou

BBDO has named former Best Buy CMO Drew Panayiotou as president-CEO of its Atlanta office.

Mr. Panayiotou, who prior to Best Buy logged time at Coca-Cola and Disney, is expected to bring omnichannel know-how to the office, said Andrew Robertson, president-CEO BBDO Worldwide. As the office looks to grow, retail accounts will be a target. Current clients include AT&T, American Red Cross, Georgia Lottery and REI.

"We've got a big opportunity to really build our business in Atlanta on complex, high-value retail-type of accounts," Mr. Robertson said. "[Mr. Panayiotou has] a level of experience and understanding and knowledge of running really well integrated, large-scale marketing and communication programs. He brings, arguably, a keener understanding of what it's like to be a client and what's valuable to a client."

Mr. Panayiotou, a longtime resident of Atlanta, replaces Gill Duff who is leaving the company. He begins work on April 14. Mr. Panayiotou left Best Buy about a year ago, after three years. He has been consulting for Innovid, an online video advertising company.

Mr. Panayiotou said he is particularly excited about The Worth, an analytics platform housed in BBDO's Atlanta office that measures, models and optimizes ROI and marketing mix for ads across media. "It's a hidden gem," he said. "It offers things we needed in ample supply at Best Buy, and it's a growing field."

It will be Mr. Panayiotou first job on the agency side, a transition that can be challenging for some executives.

"When you're in the agency business you make recommendations, when you're the client, you make decisions," Mr. Robertson said. "People find that to be a tricky transition. In this case, we looked at the personality and behavior of the individual and the kind of experience they've had. Drew was running an internal agency for Best Buy, so he was both developing recommendations and making decisions, so I think he fits the bill."

Mr. Panayiotou expects his experience on the client side will be an advantage as the shop begins to pitch new business. "I have a lot of friends that are CMOs, and we always talked about how we wished there were agencies that understood clients better and the changing landscape better," he said. "I see a huge advantage coming from the client side."

Mr. Panayiotou joins Executive Creative Director Wil Boudreau, who relocated to the Atlanta office from New York in November. Mr. Boudreau has been with the agency since 1990. During that time he's worked with Snickers, Visa, HBO, Pizza Hut, Arby's and Lowe's. He was behind Lowe's popular "Fix in Six" Vine campaign.

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