Doner Detroit Signs Leo Vet Silver as EVP/ECD

By Patrick Coffee 

30-year industry vet Steve Silver joins MDC Partners’ Doner this month as the EVP and executive creative director of its Motor City office.

His arrival follows a few recent shifts in the Detroit-area auto agency “landscape.” In March, Leo Burnett Detroit lost the Chevy Silverado business, on which it won a lead role in late 2012, when the client decided to move the work back to creative AOR Commonwealth//McCann in “an effort to streamline business.”

Three weeks ago, an internal memo confirmed that Burnett had to make some staffing changes as a result of the move–and Silver, who was ECD on the Silverado relaunch campaign in 2013, was one of those affected. A week after the Burnett note went live, Doner Detroit ECD Chad Ackley left the agency, which promised hiring announcements to come. Silver would appear to be the executive mentioned in that note.

Silver has quite a bit of ad experience both within and beyond the auto industry. He began his career at Y&R before working on Nissan for Chiat/Day LA, Lexus for Team One, HP, Sony and more for Saatchi & Saatchi San Francisco, and UPS, etc. at Ogilvy Chicago (where he was GCD). Recent career highlights include Chevy’s cancer-themed 2014 Super Bowl ad “Purple Roads” and a campaign promoting the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

In the new role, Silver will direct creative on Doner’s Fiat Chrysler business as well as other unnamed clients. He reports directly to CCO/Co-CEO Rob Strasberg, who cites his “distinct style and leadership” while noting that he also happens to be “a badass musician.”

Silver, for the record, says he’s “thrilled to be joining such a vibrant agency.”