You could call it a reunion.
The&Partnership welcomed Colm Murphy as chief strategy officer in New York, making him the third Droga5 veteran to join the office’s leadership team in the past six months.
Murphy joins The&Partnership from McCann New York, where he spent the past six months as chief strategy officer, following nearly four and a half years in strategy director roles with Droga5, most recently as co-head of strategy. Prior to joining Droga5, Murphy led strategy for JWT clients including Rolex, Shell, Kraft and Mondelez in New York and London.
In his new role, he will be reunited with The&Partnership New York president Agnes Fischer and executive creative director Justin Ruben, both Droga5 vets.
Fischer explained that one of her first tasks after arriving as president of the office last December was to help find a new chief strategy officer, to fill a vacancy left last summer when former CSO Shobha Sairam left to join The Community. Ruben joined the agency from Droga5 last month.
Murphy’s role encompasses strategy oversight for both The&Partnership New York and its media agency, m/SIX.
“That was a really important distinction from past CSOs,” Fischer told Adweek, “because we really need to make sure that we are integrating, and that really starts with strategy.”
That was one factor in enticing Murphy, who said he thinks the agency’s model is “the right one,” to join The&Partnership.
“The&Partnership is doing things differently. It’s a different model here in a way that I haven’t worked directly with before,” Murphy said. “By fusing together completely data, media and creative it provides an opportunity to develop the agency/client relationship for the future and the client’s brand for the future, in a way that the current conditions of the industry is really demanding.”
“It’s an important time for strategy to take another leap forward in terms of how we approach integration,” he added. “I think data has changed how strategy works. To build one single strategy, one way of working, where media and creative are genuinely united around one strategy, one view of the customer and one operating model, is really important.”
Of course, the role also provided an opportunity to work with Fischer and Ruben again. The three worked closely together while at Droga5, particularly on what became the agency’s largest client, Chase.
“We have a track record of really being able to take a seed of something and grow it into something much bigger,” Fischer said, adding that there’s “really good chemistry and shorthand” between the trio.
“Colm understands the importance of creative ambition and has a real respect for the creativity and Justin has a real respect and demand for really thoughtful strategy. Those two things together make them a really good team,” she said.
“To take the working relationship the three of us have got and to add it into a really brave, interesting and different model that The&Partnership has is the reason why I couldn’t say no to this opportunity,” Murphy added.
Going forward, Fischer explained that Murphy would be focused on ensuring that the agency’s strategy team has the right skillset to unite media and creative.
“What we have here now is a really solid leadership team to help build on the success that The&Partnership has already had,” she said, adding that the office will build on that by “looking at where we have gaps” and hiring to fit those needs.