Walrus Adds Chief Strategic Officer

NEW YORK Michael Fanuele has left his position as global planning director of Unilever at JWT in London to become chief strategic officer at Walrus here, a start-up led primarily by former staffers of Mad Dogs & Englishmen.

Fanuele, 33, will rejoin Walrus creative director Deacon Webster, with whom he worked at Mad Dogs from 1995-99.

“We both started at the bottom of the heap, but I clawed my way up to deputy planning director in a department of three,” said Fanuel, who added that he and Webster had talked of starting their own agency from almost their first day together at the now-defunct New York shop.

“We bonded immediately over passion for the same work-smart work that sells,” Fanuele said. “We’ve both got an old-fashioned sensibility, I think.”

At Walrus, Fanuele said he would remain media neutral and not abandon effective traditional approaches in favor of newer distribution channels that are in vogue. He cited a recent poster campaign by Walrus for The Food Bank that increased donations by 200 percent. “We’ll never substitute a branded blog for a good media buy,” said Fanuele.

The Economist, an account handled by both Fanuele and Webster at Mad Dogs, is another Walrus client. The agency was tapped late last year to handle a trade campaign for the magazine.