VMLY&R Promotes Jen McDonald to North American Chief Client Officer

The agency has also hired two executive directors of client engagement

Najla Hadded, Jen McDonald and Michelle Derderian. VMLY&R
Headshot of Minda Smiley

Jen McDonald has been promoted to the role of chief client officer in North America at VMLY&R.

She takes on responsibilities previously held by Chuck Searle, who was named global chief client officer last year when VML and Y&R merged.

McDonald, who is an 11-year veteran of VML, previously served as executive director of client engagement at the agency’s Kansas City office. She will continue to be based out of Kansas City and will report to Searle.

In her new role, she will be tasked with overseeing client engagement across all U.S. offices and driving growth, developing talent and delivering and integrating VMLY&R’s offerings. She will also continue to lead the agency’s Wendy’s business.

Throughout her tenure with the agency, she has led relationships with clients including Dell, Sam’s Club, Stella Artois and Navistar.

VMLY&R has also brought on two executive directors of client engagement, Najla Haddad and Michelle Derderian.

Haddad will become part of the agency’s New York leadership team, leading global digital transformation initiatives for Colgate-Palmolive. She will report to McDonald and Carl Hartman, CEO of WPP’s Red Fuse Communications, working with both of them to identify growth opportunities and data-driven marketing initiatives for Colgate. She joins from Digitas, where she led accounts including Delta and Comcast as executive vice president of marketing.

Derderian is joining the Chicago office of VMLY&R, where she will become a member of its leadership team, responsible for the agency’s client engagement team and all key accounts in the office. She will report to McDonald and partner closely with executive director and office lead Madeline Larsen and executive creative director Aaron Evanson to focus on growth in the market. Prior to her current role, she held a number of leadership roles at FCB Chicago.

“As an agency, we believe in the power of creating culturally connected brands, and that requires leaders who can partner with our clients to navigate the changing tides, create purposeful differentiation, and drive business results,” Searle said in a statement. “Jen, Najla, and Michelle are truly the embodiment of this, and we’re thrilled to welcome a powerhouse of talent into their new roles.”

VMLY&R recently named Wayne Best its New York chief creative officer.

@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.