Phenomenon’s New President Is a Former TBWA Vet With Global Branding Experience

Erica Hoholick joins the agency in 2018

- Credit by Phenomenon
Headshot of Erik Oster

Business transformation agency Phenomenon will start 2018 with a new president after hiring Erica Hoholick to fill that role.

“The fact that they are not just a traditional ad agency … I think that’s the thing that … is the most interesting to me,” Hoholick told Adweek. “I’ve worked in the agency world for so long at really big, amazing companies on huge global brands and those have all been incredible experiences, but this really gives me a totally different opportunity and the ability to partner with clients in a completely different way.”

“Over the past 11 years, Phenomenon has stealthily built a business featuring some of the world’s most iconic brands. We are now in a period of momentous growth and Erica will be a key player in continuing our success in 2018 and beyond,” said Phenomenon CEO and chairman Krishnan Menon in a statement. “As brands look to agencies for creative business solutions that transcend marketing services, we believe Erica’s background in reinventing brands will be a significant asset to our business and to our clients.”

Hoholick arrives at Phenomenon from TBWA\Media Arts Lab, where she served as global president for over three years. Katrien De Bauw, who formerly served as managing director of TBWA\Media Arts Lab London, was promoted to the president role. Hoholick helped in the transition over the past several months.

“What was so nice about this whole process was we identified the fact that I was moving on early and then we were able to identify the right candidate, who was an internal candidate, and who understands the brand, has already forged some relationships with the client,” Hoholick explained. “I was just really there to help continue to support things and keep things moving along as she arrives. I think it’s been one of the most seamless transitions everybody could have hoped for.”

Hoholick said that her time at TBWA\MAL was “incredible,” adding, “I learned so much … it just gives you such a great perspective and to see what can happen when there are so many talented people dedicated to making one brand’s ambition come to life has been really powerful.”

“We are incredibly grateful for Erica’s leadership and contributions. Her talent, passion and commitment have been central to the growth and evolution of our company,” TBWA Worldwide president and CEO Troy Ruhanen said in a statement. “We part with nothing but gratitude and well wishes for the future.”

Before joining TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Hoholick spent over three years at Ogilvy & Mather, serving in a dual role as worldwide managing director for the agency’s Dove account and CEO of Ogilvy’s global Unilever operational unit, which followed a stint as managing director of TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A., where Hoholick said she “had the fortune of working with” Phenomenon chief creative officer Chris Adams.

At Phenomenon, Hoholick rounds out a leadership team which includes Adams, founder, chairman and CEO Krishnan Menon and chief strategy officer Jason De Turris.

“I’ve had time to meet everybody and really understand if we would be a team of complimentary skills and aligned vision,” Hoholick explained to Adweek. “I think that the great news is that we all feel that where we need to go and what the opportunity is is to work with clients, go to the hearts of the brands and the business, focus on real growth and game changing work that will move their businesses.

While Phenomenon was “already on her radar” when they first contacted her in March, she explained, a former P&G client at Cannes “was effusive about them and their abilities and how much she felt it was capturing the spirit of some of the work we had done together in the past,” which she explained “re-sparked the conversation to regain some momentum and go from there,” and she officially accepted the position around a month ago.

“They already have a huge amount of momentum and they are in an upward trajectory and I feel like they’re on the leading edge of the trend of where agencies are trying to play,” Hoholick said.

“I think what’s going to be great and a really nice change after dedicating myself to one brand [she worked with Apple at MAL and Dove at Ogilvy],” she added, is “the opportunity to get to work with multiple clients again and having the variety of opportunities” that comes with a varied client roster.



@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.