Olson Makes Some Changes to Brand/Digital Group

By Kiran Aditham Comment


On this Friday late afternoon, we don’t want to spare the preamble but here’s what occurred today at Minneapolis-based agency Olson, whose CEO John Partilla (who took over at the beginning of the year) had to say to staff, verbatim. Let it roll.

“FROM: John Partilla

TO: Minneapolis Employees; Toronto Employees; Chicago Employees; San Francisco Employees


Hello All,

Through much of this year we’ve been working hard to bring clarity to both the structure and priorities of the agency as we continue forward with our amazing momentum.  Toward that goal, I am pleased to share some exciting news about a couple of talented individuals who will be joining us in the Brand/Digital group on Tuesday, October 22.


Lydell Capritta will join Olson as the new President of Brand/Digital.  Lydell has more than 30 years of experience in acquiring and growing profitable customer relationships – working on both the client-side and agency side of those efforts.  Some of his most impressive experience came as General Manager of JWT Minneapolis, a pure digital agency often called on to represent the interactive needs of the broader JWT network.  Prior to that, Lydell most recently held roles at Bath and Body Works (Senior Vice President of Consumer Insights), inChord Communications (Executive Vice President as well as President/CEO of Blue Diesel), and Brann Worldwide (Senior Vice President).  Lydell is even already familiar with the Ford Center, having briefly assisted ATOMIC during some of its difficult transitional period.  Lydell will report to John Partilla (CEO) and will be accountable for the Brand/Digital business.  He will have both the Client Service and Technology teams reporting directly into him while also partnering closely with Dennis Ryan and the Creative team as well as Jonathan Lum and the Strategy group.


Jennifer Iwanicki steps into the role of VP of Operations for our Brand/Digital group.  Reporting up through Scott Cheney (CFO), Jennifer will focus on leading Project Management with an extra emphasis on driving clarity and best practices for the internal processes that help facilitate world-class work for our clients.  Jennifer comes to Olson with over 15 years’ experience in agency operations, including stints at Curation Station (President), Hello Viking (Chief Operations Officer), The Barbarian Group (Director of Production) and Arnold Worldwide (VP/Group Head Producer).  She has produced award-winning interactive and film for clients including Apple, Burger King and Volkswagen, and her awards include a Cannes Gold Lion, Gold Clio and One Show-Best of Show, to name a few.


On a related note, given some of these realignments, Paul Bechel has made the decision to leave Olson in pursuit of new opportunities at the end of November.  Paul has been integral in helping us shape this new org structure and is a strong advocate for the continued focus for the Brand/Digital team.  As already mentioned, the Brand/Digital Technology team (guided by Ross Teichner and Hans Van Slooten) will report up through Lydell Capritta.  Given the history with our infrastructure and amount of Olson 1:1 work done by our internal infrastructure team, the IT group (led by Dan Gronseth) will report up through Margaret Murphy and continue to support the entire company’s needs.


Please join me in welcoming Lydell and Jennifer when they join on Tuesday the 22nd, and also in thanking Paul Bechel for all his contributions to Olson!