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Barbarian Hires Four Top Directors as it Powers Up Recruitment Drive

Barbarian, the fast-growing digital creative agency backed by Cheil has made a series of senior appointments as it builds a high-powered management team to match recent client and new business momentum: Melissa Fry - Dir. People & Culture, Adam Smith - Creative Technology Director, Jo Hayes - Director of Data Insights and Analytics and Shannon Rutkowsky - Dir. Production and Business Management.

New York — 15th December 2021: Barbarian, the fast-growing digital creative agency backed by Cheil has made a series of senior appointments as it builds a high-powered management team to match recent client and new business momentum.

Barbarian CEO, Steven Moy added, “With Barbarian’s explosive growth, we have attracted the best talent from across our industry and beyond.”


To oversee the search for new talent during this period of rapid expansion, the agency hired Melissa Fry from Keurig Dr Pepper as Director of People and Culture. Reporting to Moy, Melissa will scale and build a recruitment process for new talent and promote the agency’s progressive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. She will take on the key role of evolving Barbarian’s internal culture to make the agency the most desirable and exciting place to work in the industry. Melissa has also worked at agencies including Vayner and Crispin Porter Bogusky and was studio manager for Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor.

Melissa shared, “The goal of every people team should be to create the most desirable force of talent in the industry. My role is about creating sustainable initiatives that provide challenges, mentorship and growth opportunities that will attract the best talent in the industry.”

In leading the 3% certified company, Melissa’s decades of experience and leadership will help refine Barbarian’s culture and talent management, and she will help every Barbarian grow and to create their future career faster.

Additionally, the agency hired Adam Smith, previously of Deutsch NY, as Creative Technology Director. Reporting to Director of Technology, Sunny Nan, Adam mentioned, “The talent at the agency is inspiring, and we are at a pivotal moment in history to define and create the future of human and virtual interaction.”

Jo Hayes joins Barbarian from R/GA as Director of Data Insights and Analytics, reporting to CSO, Eliza Yvette Esquivel. Jo was also co-founder of Agency DEI, the industry diversity database and has led measurement and solutions for brands including Samsung, Disney, Verizon and Uber.

With the acceleration of digital transformation, customer data is the new currency for brands to capture consumers’ hearts. Jo joins Barbarian with years of experience harnessing the power of customer data and insights, which are fuels for brand innovation, new products and services.

The agency also hired Shannon Rutkowsky, who has a wealth of experience at agencies including Digitas, Wunderman Thompson, Publicis Sapient and MRM/McCann as. Shannon will lead Barbarian’s original content creation and oversee the newly created Business Affairs department, reporting to Managing Director, Courtney Berry.

CEO Steven Moy mentioned: “Speed and craftsmanship are today’s competitive advantage for every brand. At Barbarian, we unlock growth for our clients within weeks, not months. Shannon’s expertise in new content, product and service production helps our clients to create both remarkable and profitable customer experiences at speed.”

These new appointments complement other recent hires, including Creative Director - Matt Longstaff, Group Account Director - Ben Kravitz as, IT Director - Ricardo De La Cruz as and Software Developer - Brad McGovern, as well as seven promotions from within during the past six months.

Barbarian is a full service creative digital advertising agency headquartered in New York City. Since 2001, Barbarian has been creating the future faster and transforming brands through creativity, innovation and technology. What matters is not what we’ve done and where we’ve been but where we’re going and what we're about to do next. Barbarian is a part of the Cheil Worldwide holding company. For more information, please visit