DDB San Francisco Welcomes New President

By Erik Oster 

The San Francisco office of DDB has hired John McCarthy as its new president.

In the role, McCarthy will oversee DDB’s West Coast growth, while working in partnership with executive creative director Ben Wolan to oversee DDB San Francisco’s client roster. He will report directly to DDB U.S. president and COO Paul Gunning.

“John’s extensive background in innovation and human insight, coupled with his solutions-oriented attitude, made him the perfect pick for president of our San Francisco office,” Gunning said in a statement. “Under his leadership, DDB’s commitment to doing the best work possible for our West Coast clients will flourish.”


Gunning, you may recall, was somewhat quietly promoted last summer after serving as CEO of DDB Chicago and running sister shop Tribal Worldwide for 5 years. His promotion, which came before the departure of Chris Brown, marked a shift in power from New York to Chicago.

“I’m thrilled to be joining DDB at a time of creative renaissance across the company. The team assembled in San Francisco is ambitious, optimistic and ridiculously talented,” McCarthy added. “I’m excited to partner with Ben and Paul to unlock new paths for growth and innovation. What better place than the epicenter of disruption to shape the next generation agency? Who better to define the future of creativity than the iconic agency responsible for leading its first revolution?”

McCarthy joins the agency from Y Media Labs, where he spent the last two years as svp, strategy. Before that he spent around six and a half years as director of strategy and then general manager at Johannes Leonardo. He previously led strategic initiatives at JWT New York and corporate social responsibility efforts for Qualcomm.