Deutsch Hires Former Wieden + Kennedy China Planner to Lead Its Strategy Department

Rob Campbell moves from Shanghai to L.A.

(L. to r.) Scott Lindenbaum, evp digital strategy; Heide Hays, evp data strategy; Rob Campbell, chief strategy officer; Lindsey Allison, evp head of strategy Deutsch
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Deutsch reached all the way around the world to find its newest executive.

Today, Wieden + Kennedy veteran Rob Campbell officially joins the agency’s Los Angeles office as chief strategy officer. Campbell starts on May 30 and will report directly to president Kim Getty, filling a role that has been vacant since the late 2015 departure of former CSO Colin Drummond, who currently leads the Ogilvy New York planning department.

Campbell has spent nearly 30 years in agency jobs across the U.K., Asia and Australia, most recently working as head of planning at Wieden + Kennedy’s Shanghai office while also running its regional talent incubator, The Kennedys, and running a blog called The Musings of an Opinionated Sod.

“Rob is an incredible talent whose global perspective will bring distinct, new thinking to the agency and our clients,” said Getty, adding, “Rob’s track record is proof that creative strategy is at the heart of changing a brand’s business.”

The incoming executive described his move as “a really hard call,” adding, “America is going to be as new to me as China was.” Regarding his experiences in the Asian market, he said, “Everything you think makes sense is very different there. I had to learn everything again, which was the most exciting part of it.”

“I believe strategy is about identifying the exciting creative opportunity, so what drew me to Deutsch was their desire to make stuff that changes stuff,” he said. “The other thing I liked about Deutsch is they’re all lovely people—proven by the fact that they didn’t make a big deal out of me continually wearing Birkenstocks—so I’m incredibly happy to be joining them,” added Campbell, who began his career as a session guitarist in the halcyon days of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

News of Campbell’s departure from W+K has been public since April, when Mumbrella Asia reported that he would be leaving for an “as-of-yet-unrevealed role” in L.A. Deutsch and its new chief strategist had been involved in talks for several months.

The agency’s recent new business wins in Los Angeles include Uber, Target, 7-Eleven and location app Tile.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.