Nancy Hill Is joining Cleveland independent agency Marcus Thomas as CEO, succeeding Jim Nash, who is stepping down as CEO and will serve as vice chair of the company’s board of directors.
Hill, whose company, Media Sherpas, has consulted Marcus Thomas since 2017, takes over from Nash, who led the agency through three decades of growth. Before becoming a consultant with Media Sherpas, Hill was president and CEO of the 4A’s, the ad industry’s largest trade organization. She stepped down from that role after nearly a decade in 2017.
“Marcus Thomas is ready to play on a bigger national stage—and Nancy’s entrepreneurial and very intentional leadership is what will take the agency to the next level,” said Nash in a statement. “We strive to be a top independent agency to work at and with. Nancy’s experience at agencies including Doner in Baltimore and TBWA in St. Louis and Los Angeles, in addition to her five-year connection to our organization, will make for an easy transition to CEO and ignite and propel our operations.”
In addition to advising on organizational and strategic issues for Marcus Thomas, Hill has been an advocate of culture, helping to ensure that the agency has been listening to employee needs as it shifted its way of working through the pandemic. She also has served on the agency’s board of directors since 2021.
Hill said she became “smitten” with Marcus Thomas during their collaboration and the opportunity to assume the CEO role was a career pivot she had to make.
“I’m so bullish about the company’s trajectory, I couldn’t help but say yes to the chance to fuel-inject growth at a leading creative agency that happens to be in my hometown,” said Hill in a statement. “Marcus Thomas has been operating under the radar—and I’m excited to help bring its integrated best practices to more clients and the agency world.”
Hill’s hire rounds out a leadership team of 14 that includes partner and chief client officer Mark Bachmann.
“Like a skilled trainer, Nancy has pushed us without barking at us,” said Bachmann in a statement. “Few are as well versed in the industry and able to provide such leadership and guidance to our team, which is just what we need as we continue to be great as we grow.”
Marcus Thomas was founded in 1937, has 260 employees across the U.S. and South America. Clients include Dexcom, Gold Star Chili, Ohio Lottery, Moen, Vitamix, Stanley Black & Decker, KeyBank and KraftMaid Cabinetry as clients. Revenue at the agency was up 21% in 2021 and 72% over the past five years.
Hill has earned industry accolades from She Runs It, the 3% Conference and the Girl Scouts. She also serves on the board of directors of Miami Ad School, is a trustee at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, and is an active member of the Board of People Helping People—an organization that built schools and sponsored children for further education in Otavalo, Ecuador, where she had a home for several years.
“We’re all about creating exchanges of value between people and brands,” added Jamie Venorsky, partner and chief creative officer at Marcus Thomas in a statement. “We take immense pride in routinely being a best place to work and Jim has played a critical role in helping us achieve that distinction during his 29-year tenure. With Nancy on board, more clients across sectors will see what sets us apart and we can’t wait. We know what marketers need and want today and we’re ready and excessively able to deliver.”