David & Goliath has hired JCPenney and Wieden + Kennedy alum Seema Miller as its new executive director, head of planning.
Miller, who started July 9, reports to founder and CCO David Angelo. She will oversee five staffers in the agency's planning department, filling a position left open in April when former director of strategic planning David Measer took a job leading strategy for Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Microsoft business.
“We've met with quite a few amazing candidates and found something truly amazing and inspiring in Seema,” said Angelo. “We're very happy to have her on board.”
Most recently, Miller spent a year on the client side in Dallas, as head of strategic insights at JCPenney. There, she worked on campaigns including the sweeping “Dear America” appeal to consumers during this year’s Oscars, as the struggling retailer sought to redefine its brand. (Since February, JCPenney has replaced its CEO, hired a new agency, apologized for alienating its customers in one TV ad and thanked them for returning in another.)
Miller left JCPenney in May, a little more than a year after being hired in at the company during the eight-month tenure of president Michael Francis. That stint followed Francis and Miller working together during Miller's three years at Wieden + Kennedy, where she led strategy on the agency’s work for Target, for which Francis was CMO. Miller’s resume also includes time at Leo Burnett in both Chicago and Singapore, working on brands like McDonalds, Hallmark, P&G, Kellogg’s Pop Tarts and Tiger Beer.
David & Goliath in El Segundo, Calif., is best known for helping build the U.S. presence of founding client Kia, creating work that’s included the South Korean automaker’s popular dancing hamsters. The independent agency, which claims roughly 145 employees, also handles the California Lottery and Universal Studios Hollywood.
David & Goliath would like to add a retail client to its roster, Angelo said. “We're looking for any brands out there that believe in the challenger mind-set," he said.
Miller “will oversee Kia but play a huge role in steering the strategic planning department, working on the David & Goliath brand as well as all our new business efforts,” Angelo said. “We were not only inspired by her background of strong agency experience with Wieden and Leo Burnett. Her background on the client side enables her to truly understand all the everyday challenges a client faces.”
Added Miller: “It just gave me a whole new level of appreciation for how well clients know their business, and how much agencies need to step up their game to really know their clients business and complement them with the right thinking.”
Still, after JCPenney, she knew she wanted to return to the agency world. “At the end of the day, I grew up in creativity, and I did miss that,” she said.