Element 79 Exec Dennis Ryan Heads to Olson
Continuing its streak of agency changes, Minneapolis-based Olson has imported creative exec Dennis Ryan from Omnicom Group's Element 79 office in Chicago. He will serve as the agency's first chief creative officer.
Prior to Mr. Ryan, Tom Fugleberg, Olson's executive creative director, oversaw creative. Mr. Fugelberg earlier this month was shifted into a new role as Olson's first chief brand officer, and no longer has creative responsibilities.
The move to a Minneapolis shop is a big one for Mr. Ryan, who had been at Element 79 since 2002, and before that spent time at the JWT's now-shuttered outpost in Chicago. Prior to JWT, Mr. Ryan spent his first 13 years in the ad business at Omnicom's DDB, working on clients such as Budweiser, Bud Light, and PepsiCo's Frito-Lay.
"Dennis emerged quickly as a favorite in Olson's CCO search," Olson CEO Kevin DiLorenzo said in a statement. "He has a sophisticated and polished creative sensibility, yet he embraces next-generation creativity. He has done the Super Bowl spots and the high-profile campaigns for blue-chip clients, but he understands the industry is now about much more."
Said Mr. Ryan: "I can't think of a more exciting creative job right now than mashing up really smart marketing specialties into new brand ideas at Olson. In a time of real change in our industry, Olson is doing so many things right -- its focus on connections and emphasis on anthropology perfectly match today's socially networked world."
Element 79, which was created to manage PepsiCo business, in recent years has struggled. The agency in 2008 lost the vast majority of its Pespi work, its anchor account, including Tropicana and Gatorade, only to lose PepsiCo's Quaker later that year, delivering a heavy blow to the agency. Element 79 did respond to calls by press time regarding whether a replacement has been named for Mr. Ryan.
Aside from executive moves, Olson has been active on the acquisition front. Since June it has acquired three shops, including Toronto-based mobile agency MyThum, which it bought earlier this month; public-relations firm Dig Communications, which it acquired in December; and Denali.