JWT Atlanta named Vann Graves as chief creative officer, effective immediately.
Graves will partner with CEO Spence Kramer, who joined the agency back in March after a year as a freelance consultant, to lead the shop’s creative department. He replaces Perry Fair, who was both CEO and CCO at JWT Atlanta for several years before relocating to Los Angeles early in 2016 and later becoming head of brand creative at Beats by Dre.
“Vann is a creative force in the industry, and we’re incredibly excited to have him join us at J. Walter Thompson,” Kramer said in a statement. “Vann and I have discussed at length our vision for the agency and its future, and there’s no doubt he’ll help us continue to define and exceed our goals.”
“Of course, I am incredibly impressed by Vann’s creative work. But perhaps the thing that impressed me most was his approach to leadership,” added JWT Worldwide CCO Matt Eastwood. “His leadership style has undoubtedly been influenced by his military experience.”
That military experience concerns a period during which Graves left the ad industry to serve in the U.S. Army. According to his 2010 wedding announcement in the New York Times, he completed a stint in the U.S. Army Reserve after more than two years of active duty in Iraq, where he achieved the rank of captain.
Before moving south, Graves spent over twenty years in New York, including 15 years at BBDO where he worked on Visa, Snickers, GE, M&Ms and AT&T and a stint at McCann after leaving the military. Graves’s last gig before JWT was with FL+G, the Chattanooga-based agency he helped found at the beginning of the year after asking Campaign readers to help come up with a name. He’d previously been president and CCO at Fancy Rhino, where he worked on this double-entendre filled campaign for Torch.
The news follows JWT Atlanta being named AOR by Kumho Tires in September. At the beginning of the year, The United Service Organizations (USO) appointed JWT Atlanta to lead creative strategy and execution for its 75th anniversary campaign.
“Together with Spence, I want to build on J. Walter Thompson’s longstanding history of creative excellence and create an agency culture that puts great creative at the center of everything we do,” Graves said in a statement. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the work. Great work is what our clients expect, and our work is what we’ll be judged on.”