David Miami Announces Key Leadership Changes Following Co-Founder Departures

Chairman reveals new creative leadership team and promotions

David will also focus on strengthening its strategy and HR teams. Courtesy of David Miami
Headshot of Erik Oster

A few months after two of its co-founders left to launch a new venture, David Miami has announced a series of major leadership changes.

Fernando Musa, who took over as the agency’s chairman after departure of CCOs Anselmo Ramos and Gaston Bigio, announced a series of promotions and the creation of a new creative leadership team.

“We’re proud of what we have built at David, the growth and the work that’s been done over the past five years,” Musa told Adweek. “We’re promoting and keeping the leadership among the people who already know our culture and who’ve been delivering day-to-day basis work for the clients.”

Musa added that “of course we’re going to miss” Ramos and Bigio, but that he’s “confident everything will be fine. We believe great work makes all the difference.”

Paulo Fogaca was promoted to the role of global chief operating officer, responsible for overseeing all three of David’s offices in Miami, São Paulo and Buenos Aires as well as global client relationships. He will also retain his responsibilities as managing director of the Miami office.

Creative director Tony Kalathara was promoted to the role of executive group creative director, while Juan Peña Plaza and Ricardo Casal were promoted to executive creative director roles. Jason Wolske and Danny Alvarez were both promoted to group creative director.

Carmen Rodriguez was promoted to head of account management, tasked with leading the account department while also focusing on key projects with her group of account directors across the agency. Rodriguez joined David Miami in December of 2016 and has led the Burger King group of accounts as well as ABI brands including Budweiser and Modelo.

“We’re moving from founders to foundation,” Musa said of the new leadership structure. “I’m confident that this model will work for us.”

“The secret of the success we have at David is the commitment to do great work,” he added. “And there’s a lot of opportunity coming because of the work.”

He explained that commitment to great work has helped grow existing client relationships and attracted new clients. The agency’s work for Burger King, for example, he said led to work for Kraft-Heinz, which in turn led to its relationship with AB InBev, which included a Super Bowl ad for Budweiser.

“Our focus now is to keep delivering amazing work for the clients we do have. “The work is our main driver of growth,” he added.

Musa said that client response to the leadership changes has been positive. “The level of confidence from clients is…really amazing,” he said and inspired confidence.

Musa said that David was “very focused on attracting new talent,” continuing the agency’s focus on diversity and maintaining “a place where people want to work because you can deliver great work.”

David head of global production Veronica Beach will take on increased responsibilities and will be looking to add talent to David’s production team.

“Production is a crucial part of everything we do,” Musa explained. “Delivering is a crucial part of the work. Sometimes you have a great idea, but to know how to do it makes all the difference. To make the impossible possible is something we’ve been proving since day one.”

David will also focus on strengthening its strategy and HR teams, led by director of strategic planning Jon Carlaw and talent director Jordan Peabody.

“HR, for me, is in the center of the discussion,” Musa said, as the agency continues to foster diversity, promote from within and facilitate employees to work across national borders.

“We need to have more than a safe environment, we need to go beyond that,” Musa said regarding the #MeToo movement and revelations of sexual misconduct amongst agency leadership in the industry. “It’s not about doing what is right; we need to do more than that. More than zero tolerance, I think we have a chance, because of our size, because of our beliefs, to set an example, to inspire the industry to make it right.”

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.