After a Series of Leadership Changes, Apple’s Dedicated Ad Agency Names a New Global President

Katrien De Bauw succeeds Erica Hoholick at Media Arts Lab

The tech giant restructured its relationship with MAL earlier this year.
Apple/Media Arts Lab

Today the TBWA network announced a change in global leadership atop TBWA\Media Arts Lab, the agency charged with advertising Apple around the world.

Erica Hoholick, who has served as global president of the agency for approximately three and a half years, will be leaving to fill another, unspecified role within the larger TBWA family. She’ll be succeeded by Katrien De Bauw, who has served as managing director of the Media Arts Lab’s London office since TBWA hired her away from Saatchi & Saatchi one year ago.

Katrien De Bauw

It is not clear at this time what effect the change will have on Apple, which restructured its relationship with Media Arts Lab earlier this year in an effort to direct more resources toward digital and regionally-oriented marketing campaigns.

“We are incredibly grateful for Erica’s past and continued leadership across our network,” said TBWA\Worldwide president and CEO Troy Ruhanen. “For over three and a half years, she’s been a driving force behind some of our most impactful work on behalf of Apple. Her talent, passion and commitment have been at the center of TBWA\Media Arts Lab. I look forward to announcing her next role as we continue to grow our TBWA creative collective.”

Hoholick has more than 25 years of ad industry experience. She previously served as managing director of TBWA\Chiat\Day’s Los Angeles office—which created such iconic Apple ads as “1984” and “Think Different”—before returning to the network to serve as Media Arts Lab president in early 2014.

De Bauw most recently oversaw daily operations at the Apple shop’s London office as well as its operations in the EMEA region. She will be officially promoted to global president and move to Los Angeles in November.

“Katrien taking on this role reflects our continued commitment to developing talent and the career trajectories of the best people within the collective,” said Ruhanen. “With Katrien soon at the helm of our MAL we gain a leader with insight into the inner workings of strong brands, belief in the power of creativity, a proven track record of driving innovation and an international perspective. It’s an exciting combination that we think will bring tremendous value to our clients’ business and to our company.”

The tech giant’s relationship with its ad agency entered a somewhat troubled patch in 2014, when a query related to the Apple vs. Samsung copyright case unearthed an email exchange in which head of marketing Phil Schiller blamed Media Arts Lab and its since-departed co-founder James Vincent for some of the company’s perceived positioning challenges.

Since then, the network went through a series of executive-level leadership changes before settling on a team led by chief creative officer and TBWA\Chiat\Day veteran Brent Anderson. Its work has also recently received a series of awards including the One Show’s 2017 Penta Pencil, which recognizes five or more consecutive years of exceptional creative work, and six lions at this month’s Cannes festival.

An Apple representative deferred to Media Arts Lab for comment on the news.