M&C Saatchi L.A. Names New CD, Director of Planning

By Patrick Coffee 

The Los Angeles offices of M&C Saatchi Worldwide (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year) hired Mandy Graham as director of strategic planning and named veteran copywriter Maria Smith as its newest creative director.

Graham moves in-house after working in the planning departments of MAL and Kastner & Partners as a freelancer; she previously spent two years as planning director at 180 Amsterdam, where she managed such accounts as Asics and DHL. Graham also served as VP/planning director at Leo Burnett Chicago for more than four years, during which time she led strategy for Special K in the U.S. before taking it global. (The account went to J. Walter Thompson last month after more than five years.) Earlier in her career, she spent time at Chicago’s Element79 and Cramer-Krasselt.

mandy grahamIn the release, CSO Kate Bristow cites Graham’s “maturity and her instinctive grasp of what matters most to brands in this complicated world.”

Smith spent eight years as a copywriter and ACD within the M&C Saatchi organization before her promotion, working on such accounts as The San Diego Zoo, Three Olives Vodka and Epson. Previous roles include time spent writing copy at TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A. and TEQUILA, TBWA’s below the line marketing shop.

ECD James Bray, who left GS&P to join M&C Saatchi as a CD in 2010, says Smith is “a consummate pro”:

“She’s kind of like the glue that keeps everyone on both sides of the aisle headed in the right direction. A really sticky glue.”

Smith herself calls the promotion “an honor,” noting that “There’s also an appreciation here for the inspiration that comes from outside our walls, which can’t be underestimated.”