Canvas United Hires Mark Lainas as President and Chief Innovation Officer

By Kyle O'Brien 

Canvas United has appointed Mark Lainas as president of the digital agency that is part of the United Collective. Lainas will also serve as chief innovation officer.

In this dual role, the 18-year advertising industry veteran will oversee day-to-day operations for Canvas United, continuing the expansion of the agency’s offerings. Lainas also aims to drive digital innovation across United Collective’s three units: Canvas United, advertising agency Gallegos United and public relations firm Rox United.

“We pride ourselves on being a place that allows talent to do its best work and a place that is willing to invest in its people and in new ideas,” founder and CEO John Gallegos told Adweek. “Mark’s experience in all things related to today’s digital landscape and its future transformation—combined with his entrepreneurial spirit and agility—will help us achieve our goal of being the most creatively driven and culturally attuned collective.”


Prior to Canvas, Lainas was at BBDO Worldwide where he served as chief innovation officer for Europe and then director of innovation for the Americas—before becoming chief innovation officer for the global advertising agency network’s Mars Inc. business. Before joining BBDO, Lainas was managing director at Ogilvy Change, the behavioral interventions agency, and at Social.Lab, the social media agency, both within Ogilvy & Mather Group. Earlier in his career, he held roles at Proximity, Red Brick Road and Glue Isobar.

“For clients and their brands to succeed in the next two years and beyond, I believe they need creatively driven, culturally attuned agencies that are focused on growth and are agile at their core. This is what we have here at Canvas United and the wider United Collective through John’s leadership, our entrepreneurial spirit and our independent autonomy,” Lainas told Adweek.

Gallegos said that as CIO, Lainas will help the collective bring its creativity to life, focusing on new ways to solve problems and realize ideas.

“In my innovation role, I will be driving the contextual application of creativity and technology to build ideas and experiences that have meaning to people and society but also drive growth for brands,” said Lainas, adding that the collective’s capabilities across communications, digital experience, influencer and media will help deliver for clients.

Lainas is also a board director and trustee at The Ideas Foundation, a charitable organization that helps put creativity back into the classroom by connecting brands, agencies and schools. The organization gives students who may not have had the chance an opportunity to work on live brand briefs and to find a hidden talent for creativity.