MullenLowe Winston-Salem Names Former Geico Lead as President, Promotes 3 Creative Leaders

By Patrick Coffee Comment

The Winston-Salem, North Carolina office of MullenLowe made several key changes this week, naming a new president and launching a separate B2B practice while parting with its top creative and moving its former president into a new role.

Brad Higdon, who joined MullenLowe in May as head of accounts after leading the Geico business for The Martin Agency, has been promoted to president. His predecessor Taylor Bryant will in turn become executive director of the aforementioned B2B practice, which will include several existing clients in the Winston-Salem area and others around the larger MullenLowe network.

The shop also parted with EVP/ECD Jason Black after more than 9 years and is currently in the process of seeking a new executive to fill his role. The agency did not elaborate on his departure, but in the meantime, it has promoted former CDs Christy Blain, David Olson and Scott Stripling to the roles of VP/group creative director to manage the creative work in Black’s absence, thereby allowing more time to find a new creative lead.

“What really got us here was the potential to build on a great foundation,” Higdon told us today. “I’ve learned over the years that a bit of fine tuning with the right talent and leadership can do some pretty amazing things.”

Regarding his new role heading the office, he said, “We’re driving forward a culture of innovation and experimentation. I want to push forward a passion for creativity in its various forms. … I hope to bring a bit of a spark to that and help fan the flames.”

Moving forward, the Winston-Salem office looks to collaborate more directly with other MullenLowe outposts in Boston, Los Angeles and New York. According to U.S. CEO Lee Newman, the B2B operation will represent that new approach. In addition to its existing roster, MullenLowe has been pitching new B2B clients, with two reviews ongoing. It also inherited some business from the integration of the Profero organization in New York.

“The idea is that each office would have its own flavor and client roster and be able to go out and win business on its own,” Newman said. “We would all view each other in a more tightly integrated fashion and be able to move people, resources and opportunities around a bit.” He added, “Brad has energized the place and brought some new client opportunities that are really exciting.”

The Winston-Salem operation also recently transitioned into a new physical space. Higdon said it’s about 30,000 square feet with an open floor plan and that it will soon receive coverage in Architectural Digest.

This is Higdon’s second stint at the office; he worked as an account executive there for three years before leaving to join Martin in 2004.

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