Three months after stunning the ad industry by winning American Express’ global brand business away from Ogilvy & Mather after 50 years, mcgarrybowen has hired creative veteran Michael Raso to lead the account.
Raso started at mcgarrybowen New York this week in the role of global executive creative director.
“I am thrilled to welcome Michael to the mcgarrybowen family,” said chairman Gordon Bowen. “His innate taste, talent, global experience, leadership skills and his downright passion for American Express is genuinely inspiring.”
Raso himself praised the client, adding, “As a member since 1997, I’ve always been a fan of American Express. I looked forward to getting my Departures issue every month and am now looking forward to the opportunity to be part of the history of this iconic brand at mcgarrybowen.”
The Australian native brings more than 25 years of industry experience to the new role. He began his career working under David Droga at Omon Sydney and later traveled the world from New York to Singapore and Boulder, Colo., where he spent four years as evp, executive creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and helped lead the agency’s successful pitches for the global Infiniti and American Airlines accounts.
Raso’s extensive body of work has been honored by many of the ad industry’s top awards shows, including Cannes Lions, the One Show, Spikes Asia, the Shortys and the New York Festivals.
Representatives from mcgarrybowen and American Express declined to comment on how the agency won the account without a review, though Bowen created some of the brand’s most iconic campaigns during his tenure at Ogilvy, most notably coining the “Membership has its privileges” tagline. According to several people with knowledge of the account, the two parties had been in talks for months before the transition became official in June.
Raso also accepted an executive creative director position with Huge earlier this summer before ultimately going to mcgarrybowen. Today, a spokesperson for the IPG agency said, “We were unaware that Michael was still in talks with mcgarrybowen when he accepted a role with us. We wish him all the best.”
Mcgarrybowen New York is still seeking a new chief creative officer to succeed Matthew Bull, who stepped down over the summer and has since launched his own unrelated business.