2 Creative Leaders Depart Portland’s Swift

By Patrick Coffee 

Portland, Ore.-based digital agency Swift recently parted ways with two top creative leaders, a spokesperson confirmed last week.

Executive creative director Cat Hyland (password-protected book here) and vp of creative Ted Zahn left the company earlier this month.


“After six years apiece, [Hyland and Zahn] have moved on from Swift,” a representative wrote. “They were instrumental in building and guiding Swift’s creative department, and responsible for steering award-winning campaigns and account-winning pitch work, as well as several internal initiatives focused on developing individuals and enriching agency culture.”

The rep continued, “With these departures, we are currently looking for an ECD with deep agency experience producing and leading creative across the full spectrum of mediums, including experiential work.”

The reasons behind the departures are unclear at this time. They follow that of agency co-founder and former CCO Alicia McVey, who left in mid-2018. She did not respond to related queries and has yet to announce a new project.

The rep declined to elaborate on the above statement beyond noting that chief creative officer Rick Albano, who has spent more than a decade with Swift and succeeded McVey as top creative, will continue in that role.

Prior to joining Swift in 2013, Zahn held creative roles at Possible, tenfour and the San Francisco offices of MRM/McCann. He also worked in the startup world as senior art director at digital invitation company Evite. Hyland spent several years at Chicago’s Designkitchen, where she was a senior writer.

WPP’s Possible acquired Swift in 2014, and it has retained its own place in the anachronistic Pacific Northwest scene. Meanwhile, Possible has increasingly become part of the newly formed Wunderman Thompson network.

Recent hires include creative director Paul Bjork, who helped lead Taco Bell social at Digitas, and chief production officer Marni Beardsley, who previously spent 26 years at Wieden + Kennedy.

Here’s a creative reel from late 2017.

Swift’s clients include Starbucks, Google, YouTube, Adidas, Carter’s and Blue Apron. Representatives did not respond to requests for comment regarding our February story about claims that the agency has also been working on the 2020 presidential campaign of former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

[Pic via Swift]