BBH New York named a new leadership team today following last year’s departures of its North American CEO and chief creative officer. Global CEO Neil Munn made the announcement.
The Publicis Groupe agency hired Anthony Romano of R/GA to serve as chief executive officer and promoted executive creative director Gerard Caputo and global chief strategy officer Sarah Watson to the roles of chief creative officer and chairman, respectively. Watson will also retain her strategy role.
“Our new BBH NY executive team is well positioned to continue our strong momentum,” said Munn in a statement. “Anthony’s combination of experience from the agency, media and client sides of the business gives him a unique 360-degree perspective. His progressive leadership style combined with his versatile marketing experience and his deep appreciation for the work make him the ideal candidate to lead the BBH NY team and expand our business in North America.”
Romano, who will begin his new job next month and report directly to Munn, spent three years at R/GA, most recently serving as U.S. svp and head of client services and working directly with founder Bob Greenberg. He also held the group managing director position at R/GA New York, during which time he oversaw integration of the groups behind such accounts at Samsung, Verizon and Pepsi.
Beyond other agency roles at Publicis and Ogilvy, Romano worked as AOL’s global head of agency development and held internal marketing positions at Polo Ralph Lauren and Gap.
Regarding Caputo’s promotion, BBH Worldwide chief creative officer Pelle Sjoenell said, “When the opportunity arose I immediately knew that I wanted Gerard to step up into the CCO role. He is well proven within our walls.” He added, “Gerard arrived at BBH with an outstanding creative pedigree … His ability to rally people and solve our clients’ toughest problems makes him the perfect choice.”
Caputo, who held creative director and executive creative director roles at BBDO, Fallon, CP+B and Ogilvy before joining BBH four years ago, has led some of the agency’s most visible campaigns for such clients as Netflix and PlayStation. His work on last year’s FU2016 campaign for House of Cards won the Integrated Grand Prix at Cannes.
“I’m excited to announce Sarah’s additional responsibility as Chairman of BBH NY,” Munn said regarding the Watson promotion. “As a 14-year BBH veteran who knows our brand’s DNA and what makes our work and culture special, Sarah is the ideal executive to galvanize our team in NY and ensure collaboration with the BBH teams around the world.” Watson, who has promoted gender equality and socioeconomic diversity for the Cannes See It Be It program and her own Beautiful Minds initiative, was promoted to the global strategy role last April.
Today’s news establishes BBH New York’s leadership team after a series of significant changes over the past nine months. Last September, CEO Pat Lafferty and chief creative officer Ari Weiss left the agency, the former to lead Steve Stoute’s Translation and the latter to become DDB North America’s first chief creative officer.
Grey then announced in May that BBH creative chairman John Patroulis, who preceded Weiss in the CCO role, would become its first global chief creative officer in 18 months, replacing the departed Tor Myhren.