R/GA has hired Tim Maleeny in the newly created role of executive director, brand and marketing strategy.
Maleeny brings more than 30 years’ experience in accounts and strategy leadership positions to the IPG network, which has been expanding its strategic and consulting capabilities as part of what founder, chairman and CEO Bob Greenberg calls the hybrid model.
The new executive spent the past year as a managing director with Heat and its parent company Deloitte, which hired him to help open its first office in New York. Moving forward, he will report to global chief strategy officer Barry Wacksman while working closely with other leaders on the R/GA strategy team.
“It is great to welcome Tim to our leadership team,” said U.S. president Sean Lyons, who co-led Havas New York with Maleeny before returning to R/GA in late 2015. “His deep experience working with a range of brands across consulting, strategy, and creative development is a perfect fit for R/GA and our multi-disciplined approach to working with our clients.”
“Anyone speculating about the agency model of the future just needs to look at R/GA,” added Maleeny in explaining his move. “It was too good a playground to resist.”
The incoming executive spent most of his career at “traditional” agencies like Y&R, Ogilvy and Havas before partnering with Deloitte last year. “It’s interesting that everybody is going after what the next model will be,” he said in reference the consultancy’s recent agency acquisitions as well as Publicis Groupe’s 2014 acquisition of Sapient and Ogilvy’s decision to develop its own in-house consulting unit. “I’ve always been an agency guy from a cultural standpoint, and my move to Deloitte was about establishing [Heat’s] agency-meets-consultancy sensibility to live in their ecosystem and getting it up and running in New York.”
In the opening months of his new job, Maleeny will be primarily working on the Verizon account. The telecom giant has gradually expanded its relationship with R/GA in recent years and consolidated the digital portion of its brand work with the agency in early 2016.
Maleeny framed R/GA’s increased focus on its strategy offering as less of a pivot than an expansion of existing assets, strengths and client relationships. “The thought is that … if we want to play with different models and approaches to integration, creative strategy and consulting, we should put them to work on some of our most important clients,” he said.