Agency network DDB announced today that Ari Weiss, its former North American chief creative officer, has been promoted to lead the global network.
He succeeds Amir Kassaei, who stepped down from the global CCO role in January after nine years to focus on C14TORCE, a Barcelona-based division of DDB centered on work for the auto brand Seat.
In addition to Weiss’s promotion, DDB has hired Britt Nolan, former U.S. chief creative officer at Leo Burnett, to fill DDB’s North American CCO role.
“As the global network that bears Bill Bernbach’s name and believes that creativity is the most powerful force in business, it’s critical that we have leaders who constantly champion, provoke and expand creativity in all its forms, potential and impact,” wrote global CEO Wendy Clark in an internal memo obtained by Adweek. “Ari joined DDB in 2016 and under his creative leadership our North American region has seen a resurgence in business-impacting, award-winning work and high-caliber creative recruiting.”
She specifically referenced the campaign in which McDonald’s flipped the arches at some of its Canadian locations to resemble W’s for International Women’s Day and Skittles’ Super Bowl Sunday stunt in which the brand staged a one-night-only show on Broadway.
Clark continued, “Along with strong performance by other regions, North America’s performance helped contribute to DDB being named the No. 2 Most Creative Network of the Year at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and Network of the Year at this year’s One Show and D&AD.”
“Jealousy is a powerful motivator in the creative community, and Britt Nolan has been making me jealous for many, many years,” read Weiss’s own statement. “I’m confident in not only his ability to keep raising the bar higher in North America, but also in his ability to partner with me and our leaders across the region to continue finding the best ways to provide our clients best-in-class creative output.”
Weiss joined DDB from BBH New York in December 2016, becoming the Omnicom agency’s first North American creative chief. He previously held positions at BBDO, Wieden + Kennedy and Goodby Silverstein & Partners, among other agencies.
Multiple parties close to the matter said Weiss’s ambitions were well known within DDB, and his promotion was not unexpected.
Nolan comes to DDB with his own track record of producing award-winning work during a decade at Leo Burnett. Andrew Swinand, CEO of the Publicis Groupe network, announced the U.S. CCO’s departure last week in an internal memo but did not confirm his destination.
“Britt is a brilliantly talented creative leader whom we have admired for some time and we look forward to his immediate impact at DDB North America as we continue the region’s creative resurgence,” Clark wrote in her memo.
According to several parties, Nolan was among those considered to succeed former FCB Chicago chief creative officer Liz Taylor, who left to become Leo Burnett’s global creative lead and head of creative for Publicis Communications North America earlier this year.
That agency will announce Taylor’s successor soon.