Weber Shandwick appoints its first global chief creative officer
Interpublic Group of Cos.' Weber Shandwick appointed Tom Beckman as its first global chief creative officer, elevating the discipline to the agency’s C-suite. Beckman was previously global head of creative. The agency has also named Robyn Adelson as chief strategy officer, North America, from exec VP, creative and strategy for Canada.
The moves are part of Weber Shandwick's continuing effort to expand beyond its public relations and communications roots, a push that includes strengthening its creative leadership throughout North and South America with additional promotions. They follow closely the February appointment of Ciro Sarmiento as chief creative officer for New York from multicultural marketing agency Dieste. Becca Young also joined to lead strategy and creative in Canada, and Lisa Graves joined in late 2020 as the agency’s first North America creative excellence manager.
Under Beckman’s oversight, the agency has created innovative campaigns for Ancestry and Airbnb, Bud Light and Mattel. It won 25 Cannes Lions in 2019, and Ad Age named it as the lone PR shop on the 2020 Agency A-List.
“This is a natural evolution of his role,” Chief Impact Officer Sung Chang says of Beckman’s appointment and the presence of a creative at the highest levels of the agency’s leadership. “It signifies our commitment to creativity, our commitment to craft, our commitment to working collaboratively to think of new solutions. We’re born out of PR, but it sets us up to do more.”
Beckman will continue to grow the agency’s creative teams, and he will lead its Global Creative Council, a working group of creative leaders across the organization.
Adelson has been running both creative and strategy in Canada, spearheading the integration of the disciplines in the office and producing campaigns for clients including McDonald’s, Mondelez and Sport Chek. Her purview now expands to cover strategy for all of North America.
Also in North America, Jim Paul becomes chief creative officer, Central, overseeing creative in Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and St. Louis, and Angela Mears becomes executive creative director, West, overseeing Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Paul has led work for Mars, Kellogg and Anheuser-Busch, while Mears has run campaigns for Airbnb, McDonald’s and VMWare.
In Latin America, Vitor Elman becomes creative lead across the region. He is the co-founder of São Paulo agency Cappuccino, which Weber Shandwick acquired in 2018. “For us, making sure there was a creative leader identified means there are not going to be disparate messages, that there is a synthesized viewpoint” when it comes to the creative, Chang adds.
Unlike rival firm Edelman, which has also been expanding its creative teams and offerings, Weber Shandwick is part of a holding company, and there are plenty of IPG creative agencies churning out strong work. “We are naturally collaborative as a network,” Chang says in response to suggestions that Weber may be stepping on the toes of sister agencies at IPG. “If you have a roster of all-stars, that’s an amazing problem to have. And that’s also part of the friendly competition that motivates people—especially creatives,” he admits.