WPP’s Grey has named Dan Bennett to fill the newly created role of chief innovation officer in its New York headquarters.
Bennett was formerly with Adweek’s 2017 U.S. Agency of the Year McCann, where he served as chief digital officer. His hiring marks one of the first major appointments made by Michael Houston, who was promoted to worldwide CEO in August as his predecessor Jim Heekin became chairman.
In the new role, he will focus on driving Grey’s digital efforts around the world while advancing its analytics practice and newer internal divisions.
“Dan Bennett is uniquely qualified to leverage our digital capabilities for Grey’s future success,” Houston said in a statement. “He is going to be an integral member of our senior management team, working closely with our new worldwide chief creative officer, John Patroulis. Together, we will implement a next generation business model, with creativity as our center of gravity.”
Part of that model was the 2016 launch of the Grey Brand Experience Group, which aimed to create a new “end-to-end” service for clients by combining the public relations, activations, mobile and shopper marketing divisions, along with Grey AdVentures, which focuses on utilizing new technologies for client work. As Houston told Adweek at the time, “It’s really about ensuring that we are solving their business problems, not just their communications problems.”
Prior to joining McCann in 2014 as digital lead, Bennett served as co-founder of the New York office of independent agency AnalogFolk. He previously held digitally-focused roles at JWT, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and M&C Saatchi London.
A McCann spokesperson declined to comment on the news.