Q&A: R/GA Founder Bob Greenberg on the Agency’s Latest Reinvention

'We’re the Bauhaus of Silicon Valley'

bob greenberg
Greenberg and his brother founded R/GA as a film production company in 1977. R/GA

IPG’s R/GA finds itself at a crossroads as it heads into its latest reinvention and responds to a series of senior leadership departures. The agency also recently promoted Tiffany Rolfe and Ben Williams to roles as CCO and CXO amid a focus on bridging the gap between brand and experience.

Given the many recent changes for the company, Adweek reached out via email to R/GA founder and executive chairman Bob Greenberg, who was succeeded by Sean Lyons as R/GA CEO in 2018.

What is your perspective on R/GA’s evolution as it heads into its next iteration?
Greenberg: As executive chairman, I’ve been working very closely with Sean. This year, we’ve had to contend with Covid-19 and the economy, and we’ve been able to champion BLM and democracy—I believe that 2021 will see the momentum build for our next phase.

What are your thoughts on the recent senior leadership departures?
It’s always sad to see people go, but what’s underplayed is how long those leaving have been at R/GA. Jess, Barry, Saneel and Mike have a combined 40 years at the company. What you also find is there’s no better resume builder than R/GA; we’re the Bauhaus of Silicon Valley. People come here for that, some stay and some leave, but I’m extremely proud of the network we’ve been able to build with our foundation.

How is the R/GA of 2020 different from the agency it was in 2018 when you exited the CEO role?
We’re moving into new areas like healthcare, data-driven marketing, brand and organizational design, and tapping into our global networks in a more substantial way. Our operating system has been part of our internal communications for the past 15 years and it’s become critical to our business since we’ve gone remote. All of our tools are fully integrated to ensure we’re able to work from anywhere in the world.

How would you describe what R/GA now does? Is it an agency, consultancy, both, or something else?
It’s both. We are a creatively led company with a 70-person consultancy, which includes brand design and organizational design capabilities.

Looking back at the company you created, are there foundations or ideals that each reinvention of R/GA has represented? What are they?
Our mission statement of creating a more human future. We are a creatively driven company that integrates technology as it changes and evolves. Innovation is the foundation. We’ve led the industry in many ways and will continue to do so.

How does the current R/GA embody this and what makes it different from the company you created?
We’ve focused a lot of our capabilities around mobile, social and data. All of these areas have grown dramatically over the last few years, and we’re becoming more innovative and efficient in these spaces.


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