CCO Dennis Ryan Leaving Olson

By Patrick Coffee 

A spokesperson for Olson of Minneapolis confirmed today that Chief Creative Officer Dennis Ryan will be leaving the agency.

We’re told that the internal memo went out to all staff today and that Ryan’s successor will be announced soon.

Prior to joining Olson, Ryan held the CCO position at Element 79, which folded into DDB Chicago in 2012. (He was replaced by Canice Neary, who left after less than a year and freelanced for various shops including 72andSunny before joining Chicago’s Laughlin Constable as VP/Co-ECD.)

Ryan spent nearly a decade with Element 79, and his previous positions include ECD at JWT and worldwide CD on the Frito Lay account with what was then known as DDB Needham in Chicago.

While we have no official comment on Ryan’s future plans from within the Olson organization, sources tell us that he’s leaving to launch his own venture with the help of former Olson ECD/”Sexiest Man in Advertising” contestant Mike Fetrow. (Ryan hired Fetrow away from Fallon in 2012 several months after taking the reins in Minneapolis.)

You may recall that Olson was acquired by consultancy ICF International last year (a move that required the agency to officially relinquish its already inaccurate “independent” status). Less than a month after that announcement, the agency said goodbye to several executives including Fetrow and Lydell Capritta, president of brand/digital. When we wrote a post on the changes, we couldn’t confirm rumors that CFO Scott Cheney would be leaving as well, but those turned out to be true (he now runs his own consultancy). CMO Mitchell Caplan also left the agency very recently.

Olson tells us that it began searching for a new CCO some time ago, that the process is “extremely advanced,” and that a new chief creative could be named as early as next month.

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