The appointment of Matt MacDonald and Ryan Kutscher as co-chief creative officers of JWT's New York office represents North American creative chief Jeff Benjamin's first big move since he started in February—and one that embraces both JWT's past and its future.
MacDonald, 36, is a JWT veteran, having joined the agency in 2003 as a copywriter. In 2010, he became an executive creative director responsible for several accounts, including Macy's and Smirnoff. His other brand experience includes Rolex, DeBeers and JetBlue.
Kutscher, 33, is a newcomer who has freelanced at the WPP Group shop since February. As a former creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, however, he is well-known to Benjamin, who spent eight years at the MDC Partners shop. Together, they worked on brands such as Burger King, Volkswagen and Method.
The dual leadership structure is unusual but not unprecedented at JWT—or other agencies, for that matter. Nat Whitten and Eric Steinhauser took the reins in early 2004, but they lasted less than a year. That duo gave way to Ty Montague, who in turn was succeeded by Peter Nicholson.
Yes, the New York office has had no shortage of creative chiefs. Since 2001, five executives or teams have steered the department, starting with Mike Campbell. Montague had the longest tenure of them all, leaving in 2010 after five years to start his own shop with Rosemarie Ryan.
The creative department employs about 125 staffers. Besides Macy's and Smirnoff, key accounts include Johnson & Johnson, Rolex, Bayer, HSBC and Royal Caribbean.