Executive Creative Director Joe Staples Leaving Wieden + Kennedy After 12 Years

By Patrick Coffee 

ECD Joe Staples, who has spent more than a decade with Wieden + Kennedy in its Portland headquarters, will soon leave the agency where he made his name.

“Joe Staples is one of the most talented, inspiring people I’ve worked with,” said ECD Susan Hoffman regarding his pending departure. “I want to stay in his pocket and just follow him around on his bike and his skateboard, in creative meetings, and strategy sessions and ride in his international harvester scout. Thank God for the Joes of the world, we wish him so much luck on this next adventure!”

We’ve been told that his next adventure involves moving to California with his family, working on personal projects and taking a break from the ad agency world—at least temporarily.


He won’t be too far away, though. Staples has a side studio where he works on solving problems for various unnamed brands, and one may be forgiven for doubting that a guy who worked on such campaigns as Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” and “Imported from Detroit” would leave advertising altogether.

“I was able to do some of the best work of my life at W+K,” said Staples, “but after a 12-year sprint, it’s time to have a break and a change.”

He has worked for a range of clients during his tenure, and he got the ECD bump in the same 2013 move that saw Colleen DeCourcy promoted to global ECD and Dave Luhr succeed Dan Wieden as president.

Here he is discussing the Chrysler “Born of Fire” campaign.

The W+K organization has made some significant changes in recent months. Longtime creative leader Mark Fitzloff left last December, approximately two months after the agency expanded its global leadership team by naming 15 new partners around the world. Earlier this week, former W+K London managing director Neil Christie was promoted to global COO.

The New York office also ended its relationship with ESPN after 25 years to work with Fox Sports, and W+K Portland went through a round of downsizing after Verizon moved brand work to McCann New York.