TBWA Names New Global Chief Creative Officer

Chris Garbutt was elevated to the role

Photo: Arthur Nobre

TBWA has a new global chief creative officer to oversee creative direction and development across TBWA offices around the world and a client roster including Apple, Adidas, Accenture, Nissan and Michelin.

The agency elevated Chris Garbutt to the role from his previous position as global creative president and chief creative officer of TBWA\New York.

“To be a great creative leader, you need to have a vision for the type of culture you want to create, you need to inspire belief every day, and you must be forever restless. On all fronts, Chris has delivered,” TBWA president and CEO Troy Ruhanen said in a statement. “The energy and momentum he has created inside of the company is tremendous. The talent he has attracted and developed is best-in-class. And his relentless drive to make great work for our clients is infectious. I’m thrilled to see him take on this new role.”

“I’m humbled and honored to take on this role at a company I love,” added Garbutt. “The last year and a half have been about building our talent within TBWA, and creating a process that brings together our best people around the world to make the best work for our clients. That’s what allows us to make our brands part of culture, which is where we thrive and make iconic work.”

Garbutt returned to TBWA as global creative president in August 2015, and during his tenure in that role, he introduced a series of initiatives encouraging collaboration between TBWA offices on the agency’s top brands. Since Garbutt’s arrival from Ogilvy New York, where he served as chief creative officer, TBWA’s New York office has more than doubled its revenue. Earlier in his career, he spent over a decade with TBWA, including serving as executive creative director at TBWA\Paris, where he worked with clients including PlayStation, Nissan, Absolut and Pedigree, before moving on to become chief creative officer at Ogilvy Paris in 2007.

With Garbutt’s promotion, TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris founder John Hunt formally passes on creative leadership duties. Hunt will move on to a role as TBWA creative chairman and will aide Garbutt where the greatest needs arise across the agency’s network.

A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Garbutt began his career as a creative director at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris in Johannesburg.

“I’ve known Chris since the earliest days of his career, and I am enormously proud to pass the torch to him,” Hunt said in a statement. “He is a world-class talent and an incredible creative leader. His passion for the work, dedication to clients, tenacity and humility are second to none. He is also one of a rare breed who recognizes and demands work that is iconic.”