GS&P Names Margaret Johnson as Its First Chief Creative Officer

By Erik Oster 

San Francisco agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners restructured its agency leadership with Margaret Johnson becoming the first chief creative officer in the agency’s 33-year history.

Managing partner Derek Robson will also become president, effective immediately. Beyond these two promotions, director of account management Brian McPherson and director of new business Leslie Barrett will serve as managing partners with director of brand strategy Bonnie Wan and director of communication strategy Christine Chen also taking on partnership roles.

Don’t worry, founding co-chairmen Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein aren’t going anywhere: they will continue to take an active role in organizational efforts.

“We are reinventing our company every day, and these are the people who will formulate the big changes, come up with the big ideas that will keep us not just relevant but game-changing,” Goodby said in a statement. “Our new president, chief creative officer, and new partners will make a difference immediately—and down the line, five and ten years from now.”

Johnson joined GS&P some twenty years ago, following three years as an art director with The Richards Group. She went on to be named an executive creative director and, in 2012, the agency’s first female partner. While with GS&P she has worked with clients including Nike, Nintendo and Frito-Lay and presently works on Sonic, Nest, TD Ameritrade, Häagen-Dazs and Foster Farms. 

“Margaret has grown up at GS&P and has the DNA of the agency in her blood,” Silverstein told Adweek, adding, “She’s fearless and has led us with innovative creative thinking that taps into culture. She’s earned the admiration of our people and our clients, and there is no one else we would want to carry forth our legacy.”

Robson joined GS&P in 2005 following 13 years as a managing director with BBH, and later became a managing partner with the agency. Prior to that he served  in account planner positions with OgilvyOne and Ogilvy & Mather. In his new role he will serve as strategic leader while collaborating with other agency partners.

McPherson has been with GS&P for twenty years and currently leads the Frito-Lay, Adobe and Princess Cruises accounts. Barrett has spent nearly 17 years with the agency, recently leading new business efforts that led GS&P to add StubHub, the Golden State Warriors and GREE to its client roster while expanding its work on Comcast and Frito-Lay.

Wan and Chen will lead communications moving forward, with Wan on the brand side and Chen promoting the agency’s campaigns and “maintain[ing] rigor around how GS&P diagnoses business problems and approaches work.”

Eric Kallman was set to become the future co-leader of GS&P creative upon his ECD promotion last year, but he left to launch his own unit Erich & Kallman after approximately six months. That shop’s first work for Chick-Fil-A debuted last month.

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