ICF Olson Names New Leadership as the Emerging Agency Collective Takes Shape

New group is the product of 8 acquisitions

Jurene Fremstad (l.) is now ICF Olson’s svp and chief strategy officer, and Victoria Phillips (r.) is its first COO.
ICF Olson

ICF Olson announced several executive hires and promotions this week.

Victoria Phillips joined the recently formed umbrella group as its first-ever chief operating officer. Additionally, former svp of strategy Jurene Fremstad was named group svp and chief strategy officer, and Bob Morris and Rick Shaughnessy were promoted to group svp of integration and group svp of innovation, respectively.

Minneapolis-based Olson was one of America’s largest independent agencies before it was acquired by consultancy ICF International in late 2014 for $295 million in cash. Its agencies now include primary brand shop Olson, Olson 1to1 for loyalty and CRM work, Adobe global partner Olson Digital, and experiential, PR and social division Olson Engage

This week’s moves are the latest in the group’s long-term plans to consolidate operations across its four distinct units, 14 offices and 800 employees to provide a fuller suite of services to its clients.

“ICF Olson is a nascent agency that is the result of eight acquisitions,” said global agency lead Louise Clements, who joined the newly created entity last year after serving as president of MRM/McCann East and leading Facebook’s Canadian ad sales division. “Over the course of the past 12 months, we have been bringing them together into what we refer to as ‘the collective.'”

Before joining ICF Olson, Phillips spent nearly 18 years with the Razorfish organization, where she held various senior roles in client management, business operations and, most recently, delivery management and operations. In the new role, she will work to integrate all practices while reporting directly to Clements in the network’s Chicago office.

Fremstad will also work across the four agencies with a specific focus on the organization’s “anthrolytics” practice, which Clements describes as a marriage of anthropology and analytics. She will continue leading the Olson strategy team while evolving its “Think Like People” planning process in addition to her new role with the parent company. She brings more than 20 years of experience with agencies like Deutsch, Mother and mono to the role.

Morris and Shaughnessy became ICF Olson employees when the company acquired Trade, the marketing advisory company they co-founded, last November. The pair, who collectively spent more than 40 years with numerous agencies and digital media companies, will now work to integrate creative and strategic innovation across the network. Clements called them “our chief knitting officers” and noted that the company has started applying Trade’s operations across all accounts and divisions.

“We don’t have a 35-year legacy,” said Clements. “We’re only 2 years old, and now have the opportunity to get it right based on the customers’ needs, which is very refreshing. We want it to be nimble and seamless, timely and cost-effective. It’s truly a client-centric model.”

ICF Olson’s roster currently includes Adobe, Skittles, Oscar Meyer, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Amtrak and the nation of Belize, among others.