Soldier Unlimited Hires New Chief Creative Officer and Executive Director

By Kyle O'Brien 

Boston-based brand building agency Soldier Unlimited is expanding its West Coast presence with two new hires, naming James Wilkinson as chief creative officer and Shanthi Bretz as executive director. The two will help further the agency’s growth in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“(Bretz and Wilkinson) have come on board as partners in Soldier to help grow our West Coast offering through new business acquisition, in addition to helping build on organic opportunities across our network and participate in the venture brands we are bringing to market. Their undeniable success over the past 10 years of working together is exactly the type of chemistry and talent that can help Soldier continue to grow in a meaningful way,” Soldier Unlimited CEO Bobby Riley told Adweek.

Wilkinson joins Soldier Unlimited from Seattle-based marketing agency Pop where he was chief creative officer from 2017 to 2021. As chief creative officer at Soldier, he will lead creative for the agency’s growing list of clients, such as Sperry, K&N and Tru Colors and will oversee the company’s creative group. He has also worked at companies including 21st Century Fox, LVMH and Microsoft.

Bretz also comes to Soldier from Pop, where she served as both the vp of business development and chief growth officer. At Soldier Unlimited, Bretz will build partnerships with new clients. With over 20 years of marketing experience at Razorfish, Microsoft and SapientNitro, Bretz has developed business growth strategies for clients including Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Disney and 20th Century Fox.

Wilkinson told Adweek that he and Bretz joined Soldier because the agency is “modern and kinetic” and can adapt to new business with flexibility and creativity. Bretz added that she and Wilkinson, having spent the past decade together across two different agencies, “were really looking for a place that was both creatively and strategically inspiring and equally challenging. Soldier is that third chapter, because this place is bursting with the kind of talent, audaciousness, excitement and pride of craft that is almost impossible to find under one roof these days.”

Soldier Unlimited has spent 20 years in Boston and added offices in Toronto and Los Angeles over the past three years. The agency looks to continue to scale its offices to support growth over the next five years, adding 10-15 new full time roles in the next six months. Wilkinson and Bretz will work remotely from Seattle. Once the agency reopens its physical offices, it will add a San Francisco office location.

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