Richards Group names 10-year alum Sue Batterton as its first chief creative officer
As part of its efforts to remake itself, The Richards Group is naming its first-ever chief creative officer—Sue Batterton, a more than 10-year vet of the agency who is rejoining after a short stint with BBDO Minneapolis, where she served as executive creative director. Batterson left the agency in January after serving most recently as creative group head.
Trevor Monteiro also returns as the agency’s head of brand media from Moroch Partners, where he was most recently VP of communications planning for nearly a year. Monteiro had joined Moroch after serving as media group head at The Richards Group for four years.
“I had to be a part of the comeback story,” Baetterton told Ad Age. “I left for an incredible opportunity at a truly great agency, but I came back because I cared too much about the people and the work at the Richards Group. I was given an unusual opportunity to be the agency's first chief creative officer and that idea alone is incredibly exciting to me because I'm now empowered to go to a place that I love and make real change. I can invite diverse, new thinking to the table and put progressive and fresh new perspectives to our work.”
The Richards Group has never before had a chief creative officer, but its de facto lead creative for decades was founder Stan Richards, who left the shop in October after he made a racist remark during a client meeting last October. Beyond losing most of its client roster, the incident led to a number of Richards Group alums leaving and opening their own small shops. In April the agency hired 18-year General Motors veteran Nikki Wilson, as its first-ever chief talent and culture officer.
Both Monteiro and Batterton said they have been noticing efforts by The Richards Group to change since its founder left.
“Certainly, the hiring of Nikki was big,” Batterton says. “But besides that, we're incorporating a more inclusive worldview into everything that we do, and we've even rewritten our creative brief, the one that we've had at the agency for probably two decades, to be more contemporary, to be more mindful of different audiences and perspectives. That influences the work at every level. It's a system-wide transfer of perspective, honestly, from an agency that may have felt antiquated, to a system that is incredibly inclusive and progressive.”
Batterton says the two returning to the agency can bring a unique point of view because they had previously worked at The Richards Group.
“What we bring is an understanding of the past that we are now free from and insight into areas that we've wanted to push past or re-examine," Batterton says. ”We are also very focused on recruiting new, fresh points of view and talent to help us do just that.”
From the outside looking in these hires may not seem like big changes given both executives previously worked for years under Stan Richards’ tenure, but the agency says these are just the beginning of leadership changes that are yet to come.
“From the moment the transformation of The Richards Group began more than six months ago, I knew the true mark of whether we were succeeding in our goals was whether we could attract top talent to the agency–including talent that had previously been in the building,” Glenn Dady, CEO of the Richards Group said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to welcome Sue and Trevor back into the fold and to empower them with the leadership roles I know they’ll thrive in. The future of our agency is brighter than ever with Sue and Trevor joining me at the helm.”
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