Mr. Partilla is replacing Kevin DiLorenzo, a 10-year Olson veteran who the agency said will remain with the agency as a significant shareholder, director and senior adviser to Mr. Partilla, and play an active role in the transition. Mr. Partilla comes to Olson after serving as Dentsu Network West's chief operating officer, a role he's had since January 2011.
"It's a wonderful honor to have been selected to build on the strong foundation in place at Olson, which does great business -- and brand-building work with smart and breakthrough creative," Mr. Partilla said in a statement. "Olson's holistic model is truly the real deal. More and more, you're going to see us punching above our weight."
Prior to Dentsu, Mr. Partilla led global media sales as president at both Clear Channel Communications and Time Warner; he spent the first two decades of his career at WPP's Young & Rubicam, filling various roles including managing partner and founder and CEO of its BrandBuzz unit.
Mr. DiLorenzo succeeded agency founder John Olson as CEO in 2010, and oversaw acquisitions of agencies in Minneapolis, Chicago, and, in 2011, Toronto with mobile marketing agency MyThum. Other acquisitions under Mr. DiLorenzo's leadership include Chicago-based PR outfit Dig Communications.
"Kevin's contributions were invaluable," said John Olson, founder and co-chairman of the agency in a statement. "He was the perfect leader for consolidating our acquisitions and creating a model focused on forward-thinking brands. John Partilla's experience with driving national and international brands as well as his sheer enthusiasm for the agency, makes him the absolute right person to help drive us to the next level."
Olson's recent account wins include Belize Ministry of Tourism and athletic-footwear company Saucony. Other account wins include being named Midwest agency of record for Whole Foods and PR for Oscar Mayer. The agency lost the PR business for beverage brand Naked, although the shop still works with Pepsi, as well as Fifth Third Bank, an account it lost in the latter half of 2011.