Merkle Americas Hires 30-Year Agency Veteran Away From DigitasLBi

Joanne Zaiac will serve as chief client officer

Joanne Zaiac is named chief client officer of Merkle Americas.
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Performance marketing agency Merkle, a part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, has hired 30-plus-years industry vet Joanne Zaiac as chief client officer of its Americas division.

In her role, Zaiac will handle development of the strategic vision and value proposition for Merkle’s account management and client services. Previously, Zaiac was chief operating officer for global digital agency DigitasLBi North America, a Publicis Groupe subsidiary, but she told Adweek that the majority of her career was in client services.

“Client services has been a part of my DNA,” Zaiac said. “I’ve always been very passionate about client services. The chief operating role was a good detour and experience but I longed to return to my passion.”

After spending a year away from client services, Zaiac said she’s interested to learn how new data capabilities and tech offerings have complicated what companies want from their agencies.  She touted Merkle for using tech to the best of its abilities and “truly delivering” personalized services to each client.

“A lot of people are talking about it but Merkle is actually walking the walk,” Zaiac added.

Zaiac spent more than 18 years in senior leadership roles at DigitasLBi. Before being appointed COO of its North America division, she was president of DigitasLBi New York for more than 10 years. Zaiac also sits on the board of directors for shoe retailer DSW and nonprofit Junior Achievement New York.

“Joanne is a proven client relationship leader and strong developer of talent and high performing teams,” Craig Dempster, Merkle Americas president, said in a statement. “Her business acumen and expertise in the digital marketing and advertising industries will be a tremendous asset in providing strategic counsel to our growing roster of clients.”

The appointment of Zaiac builds on Merkle’s focus to increase diversity within its walls. Over the last 10 months, the agency said it hired several women leaders including Coleen Kuehn as Merkle CMO, Anne-Marie Schaffer as general manager of the agency’s travel media and entertainment practice and Claire Billings as the Europe division’s vice president of marketing.

“It’s encouraging to see more women be a broader part of the mix and employees and clients value that,” Zaiac noted.

Zaiac is an executive member of activist organization She Runs It, formerly known as Advertising Women of New York, which works to elevate and support professional women.

Merkle describes itself as a leading global tech- and data-driven performance marketing agency and provides consulting to Fortune 1000 companies.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.