MediaCom Promotes The Pharm’s Ryan Shaw to Lead its Chicago Office

By Olivia Morley 

A headshot of Ryan Shaw.

MediaCom has promoted Ryan Shaw to head its Chicago office. In the new role, Shaw will oversee all of MediaCom’s Midwest clients and will report to the agency’s U.S. CEO Sasha Savic.

Before the promotion, Shaw was a leader on MediaCom’s dedicated Walgreens team, The Pharm. Before MediaCom, he worked in media for 13 years at agencies including iCrossing, Digitas and Starcom. He also spent six years in the financial industry.

Shaw’s expertise is in integrating multi-disciplined teams. He has worked across full-service accounts spanning the retail, CPG, financial, insurance and travel categories.


Shaw told Adweek that the Walgreens business has been a great business to work on because it’s local to Chicago. He was a central player on the Walgreens global review in 2020 in which WPP retained the business.

“We’ve had phenomenal growth over the last two years—and Ryan has been pivotal in delivering and demonstrating the success of and growth potential for truly integrated solutions for clients. He is also a true people champion and I look forward to the impact he will have in the region,” said Savic in a statement.

Working on Walgreens coupled with the many interactions he’d had across WPP, “set me up to have good visibility into how the organization works and how to navigate and bring a new flavor of thinking to the office,” Shaw said.

At a time when bespoke agency models are becoming even more prominent within holding companies, Shaw brings his direct expertise leading The Pharm, WPP’s dedicated Walgreen’s team. “I think this could apply to working with Walgreens and any setup where you have a full service team,” said Shaw. The solution for Walgreens is inclusive of WPP agencies VMLY&R and MediaCom.

Shaw emphasized how important it is for leaders to create a safe and collaborative culture and said he will prioritize creating psychological safety and fostering a sense of camaraderie in employees. “It’s fun to work in that collaborative environment. You can recreate that when you are working with different agencies, and agencies outside your own holding company as well,” he said. “It’s important for people to feel empowered to share their thoughts.”

Of his goals for the Chicago office, Shaw told Adweek he aims to make MediaCom Chicago the best place to work in the city. He will also focus on expanding Chicago’s client roster.

At the same time as Shaw’s appointment, MediaCom has hired Julie Levin as its new head of sports partnerships. Levin comes from Bally Sports and will help MediaCom bolster its sports marketing business.

Levin will join MediaCom’s Creative Systems—the division within the media agency that combines data, creativity, media and production. Levin’s hire comes after the agency last year hired Frank Iqbal, former executive creative director at Merkle, as head of addressable creative.

“As we continue to advance in incubating creative, media, data, and tech innovations, we are accelerating our mission of driving relevancy and personalization at scale for our clients. Julie and Frank are experts in their field and are fantastic additions to MediaCom,” said Savic in a statement.