Former McKinney ECD Peter Nicholson Becomes Periscope’s First Chief Creative Officer

By Patrick Coffee 

Executive creative director Peter Nicholson has left McKinney after approximately three years to become Periscope’s first chief creative officer.

Nicholson, who was hired as ECD to lead creative in McKinney’s then-new New York office in 2013, will move to Minneapolis for the new gig. His arrival marks the first big hire for Periscope CEO Liz Ross, who joined the Minnesota shop four months ago after serving as global CMO for IPG Mediabrand and said that “finding a chief creative officer and ramping up new business” would be among her first high-profile moves.

In the release, she writes, “Peter Nicholson is fuel for Periscope’s success and growth. He is totally tuned in to the entire consumer experience and is committed to a holistic approach to creative.” She adds that his presence “will allow the entire package of our creative output to be elevated on the national stage.”


Nicholson has a long agency resume. Before joining McKinney, he served as chief creative officer at Publicis, Deutsch and JWT New York, where he was replaced by Jeff Benjamin in 2012. Other prominent roles include stints as creative director at GS&P and Leagas Delaney in San Francisco.

“What I see at Periscope is that the talent, infrastructure, impressive client roster and growing momentum are all here,” says Nicholson. “I am excited for the opportunity to provide the creative leadership that takes this agency to the next level and evolves Periscope’s reputation from best kept secret to the best known creative shop in the world.”

Periscope, which employs more than 500 as one of North America’s largest independent agencies, parted ways with 25-30 staffers last month after losing all or part of the Target and Buffalo Wild Wings accounts. While some positioned the move as part of a shift toward more digital work, we hear that the agency’s digital teams were among those affected.

On Nicholson’s departure, McKinney CCO Jonathan Cude told AdAge:

“It’s a great opportunity to become an owner and the first chief creative officer of a respected independent agency. We love the guy and wish him well.”

A spokesperson also said that the shop plans to replace the outgoing ECD in New York and that its executive team remains 10 strong after the departures of Nicholson, chief digital officer Jim Russell and partner/COO Joni Madison (who left to become chief of staff at D.C.-area LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign), among others.

We know of at least one out-of-town agency that has been eyeing McKinney’s New York offices, which remain fully operational while boasting both a killer view and a sweet staircase.