Young & Rubicam has reached into a leading digital shop to fill a top strategic role in New York.
Dick de Lange, a group strategy director at R/GA who most recently worked on Samsung, is now chief strategy officer of the New York office of Y&R. De Lange, who also has worked at JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi and DDB, fills a void left by the July exit of Hope Cowan, who was based in New York and led strategy for North America. Cowan had been at the agency for two years.
The new top planner has never run a department before, though he led groups at both R/GA and JWT. At JWT, he was part of a team behind the "Ridiculously long lasting" campaign for Cadbury's Stride Gum, and when he joined R/GA in 2011, he focused primarily on Nike. His other brand experience ranges from Converse and State Farm to Lexus and Sony.
At Y&R, de Lange becomes part of a leadership team that includes president Jim Radosevic and chief creative officer Jim Elliott. The agency's top accounts include Dell, Xerox and Campbell's Soup.
In making the hire, Radosevic cited de Lange's cross-channel experience, energy and problem-solving abilities. Radosevic said he also sees him as a kindred spirit, as both have worked at digital shops in the past. (Radosevic was a managing director and creative director at WPP Group's VML before joining sister shop Y&R in 2011.)
As chief strategy officer, de Lange will lead a department of 20 and be a key player in business development—an aspect of the job that Radosevic described as "incredibly critical." As for his goals in his first year, de Lange also mentioned growth.
"We need to build and grow this place, add new and exciting work to it," he said.
As for his leadership approach, de Lange likes to "inspire people by having them scare me every day by surrounding myself with young minds and showing, as a more senior guy, that I need to learn every single day."
He also stressed the importance of "attacking every single assignment in a new way and not replicating anything we've ever done before."