Rich Whalen, the former head of delivery at marketing services shop Rapp, has joined McCann Erickson in New York as svp, director of project leadership. He succeeds Gina Soloperto, who has left the agency.
At the beginning of the year the McCann Worldgroup shop began introducing project management into its work process. Whalen is charged with ensuring all of McCann N.Y.’s projects are on-time, on-budget, profitable, and meet client-agency expectations, according to Matt Donovan, managing partner of McCann N.Y.
McCann N.Y.'s creative ranks are being reordered under the management of Linus Karlsson, who was appointed chairman, chief creative officer of McCann's New York and London offices last November. Donovan said that Whalen's move to the agency is "as important” as the hiring of other recent senior creative executives like Andreas Dahlqvist and Natalie Lam added. (Dahlqvist, who was named vice chairman, executive creative director, and Lam, hired as an ecd, begin at McCann N.Y. Sept. 1.)
Donovan said Whalen’s digital background and his oversight of project management at Rapp will help the agency “re-imagine” its structure and way of working, with a focus on teams rather than McCann's more traditional silo-ed agency operations.
“It’s very important to look at the methods and way you work because the way you work really shapes the culture of the agency,” he said. “The way you work is just as important as the output it creates.”
Whalen began his 11-year career at Rapp as a producer at Rapp Digital in 2000 and became the company’s first director of project management in 2005. He was named head of delivery in 2008. He has run digital, broadcast, print, and CRM projects for clients that include Bank of America, British Airways, Travel Channel, New York Knicks, Mercedes-Benz, and pharma marketers like Merck, Humana, and Pfizer.