Publicis New York Names Ogilvy Vet Chris Van Oosterhout as ECD on the Citi Business

By Patrick Coffee 

Today the New York offices of Publicis announced the hiring of Chris Van Oosterhout to lead creative on the Citi account.

Van Oosterhout was previously a GCD and senior partner at Ogilvy & Mather New York, where he played co-lead on the Nationwide account along with ECD/senior partner Steve Howard. Ogilvy parted with both creatives in February only a few days after the client decided to drop its former agency of record McKinney after 7 years.

As our tipsters predicted, Ogilvy later inherited the entirety of that account. Howard then went to MullenLowe Boston, where he is currently senior VP and creative director. (Howard and Van Oosterhout were co-creative leads on the Nationwide 2015 Super Bowl ad, which you may remember as somewhat controversial.)


Overall, Van Oosterhout spent nearly 7 years with Ogilvy, working on IBM, American Express and E*TRADE in addition to Nationwide.

Citi has worked with Publicis, which created the OneCitiGlobal unit to handle the client, for some time. The client also consolidated its media account with Publicis last year after a review in which we heard that Citi refused to “play nice.”

Here’s the internal memo from CCO Andy Bird.

Just a quick note to let you all know Chris Van Oosterhout has joined us as Executive Creative Director for Citi, overseeing all our work across all touchpoints.

Chris will be reporting into me, but also working closely with Jeff, Jim, Avery and the extended Publicis Citi creative team.

For me, and for all here at Publicis building the strongest Citi creative team is not only a privilege, but a responsibility I cherish.  Creating this fully-dedicated creative leadership role is one of the steps we’re taking to guarantee you the best talent in the world, and a coherent and consistent voice enterprise wide.

I’m staying as involved as ever, we’re entering a hugely exciting period for Citi right now and Chris will help me fully leverage our people to take full advantage of talent toward every brief, from CRM to TVC to anything in between.  He will be in the places I can’t always be, but we share the same vision, ambition and style of management.

I hope you welcome him as much as I am hugely thrilled to have him join.

Chris is no stranger to big brands, big challenges and big wins in the financial sector and outside.  He brings a wealth of experience to our team.  Most recently with Ogilvy, he helped bring to market stand-out work we all recognize for IBM Smarter Planet, E*Trade with Kevin Spacey, Nationwide (is on your side) and American Express to name a few.  Above all, he’s hungry for the OneTeam experience and opportunity to take Citi to its next great place in the world.

I’m sure you’ll all meet Chris soon enough, but any questions in the meantime, drop me a line.

Best regards