DDB hires Britt Nolan as North American chief creative, Ari Weiss takes global role
Britt Nolan, who resigned last week as chief creative officer of Leo Burnett in the U.S., is headed to DDB where he will become the agency’s North American chief creative officer.
He replaces Ari Weiss, who is being promoted to the global chief creative officer job. The global role had been held by Amir Kassaei, who stepped down in January. Nolan will be based in DDB's Chicago office, while Weiss stays in New York.
Weiss joined DDB in late 2016 from BBH as one of the first big hires by Wendy Clark, who joined DDB as North American CEO in 2015 from Coca-Cola where she was president of sparkling brands and strategic marketing in North America. She was later promoted to CEO of DDB Worldwide.
“As a global agency network that bears Bill Bernbach’s name and believes that creativity is the most powerful force in business, it's critical to have leaders who constantly champion, provoke and expand creativity in all of its forms, potential and impact,” Clark said in a statement. “Ari’s career is best characterized as doing just that. Under his creative leadership the last two years, our North America region has seen a resurgence in business-impacting, award-winning work and high-caliber creative recruiting.”
Nolan was promoted to Leo Burnett U.S. chief creative officer in 2016 from executive creative director. He ascended the ranks again in January when he added the title of co-president of Leo Burnett's Chicago office alongside Chief Strategy Officer Emma Montgomery. In its announcement, DDB cites work Nolan has done that has led to more than 50 Cannes Lion awards.
“Jealousy is a powerful motivator in the creative community, and Britt Nolan has been making me jealous for many, many years,” Weiss said in a statement. “I’m confident in not only his ability to keep raising the bar higher in North America, but also in his ability to partner with me and our leaders across the region to continue finding the best ways to provide our clients best-in-class creative output.”
Nolan’s departure from Chicago-based Leo Burnett came soon after the agency brought on former FCB Chicago exec Liz Taylor to serve as its global chief creative officer in addition to creative lead for the larger Publicis Communications North America. She will handle Nolan’s duties while Leo Burnett searches for a successor.
Speaking to Ad Age about his new global CCO responsibilities, Weiss said: "I don’t believe advertising is fundamentally changing, it’s just getting harder and harder to stand out which is wonderful news for creativity, as it’s the only unfair business advantage still left to our clients. There’s no better proof of this than watching the consulting firms pour unfathomable amounts of money into acquiring creative agencies. They’re not doing it because they want to amass a large number of shiny golden Lion statues. They’re doing it because they know it’s worth it. I see my job moving forward to champion, protect, and prove the incredible business advantage of the ideas that our thousands of brilliant creative people come up with on a daily basis."