TBWA\Chiat\Day Hires Erin Riley as President of Its Los Angeles Office

By Erik Oster 

TBWA\Chiat\Day appointed Erin Riley as president of its Los Angeles office, succeeding 14-year TBWA vet Luis DeAnda. She will begin the position in June and report directly to TBWA\Worldwide president and CEO Troy Ruhanen.

Riley joins TBWA from Old Navy, where she has served as VP of marketing, brand engagement since last September. Before joining Old Navy, she served as vice president, global marketing for footwear brand Cole Haan, leading marketing communications and debuting new social campaigns, brand partnerships and ecommerce strategies.

Riley began her career agency-side as an account executive with McCann and D’Arcy, focusing on L’Oreal and P&G’s Always. She then joined BBH, serving as deputy head of account management and brand and communications director for BBH brand invention and its in-house consulting company ZAG. During her more than nine years with BBH, she worked with brands including Axe, Johnnie Walker, Ally Bank, Levi’s, Google and Sony PlayStation, moving up to lead the accoun team before leaving to go client-side with Cole Haan in February of 2012. 


“I’ve been hoping to recruit Erin for the last five years, as she was one of the standout brand thinkers in the New York market,” Ruhanen told Adweek. “I’m even more pleased to have her join now with her additional years of client experience. Erin’s appointment is another example of how we have assembled diverse skill sets to serve 21st century brands. And, in a time where many in the agency world are focused on efficiency, we are continuing to build the deepest senior bench, ensuring that we always provide a different perspective at the top and remain focused on critical creative thinking.”

Riley said TBWA chairman Jean-Marie Dru has been one of her key influences. “Early in my career, I came upon Disruption Stories and it profoundly shaped how I thought about brand building,”she said. “It is an unbelievable privilege to be joining the agency that birthed that philosophy, and a part of the team that is applying it in a distinctly 21st century way. My true passion, whether client or agency side, is building brands that become part of the cultural conversation and reap the resulting commercial rewards. That’s why I instantly connected with TBWA\Chiat\Day’s mission to leverage data, culture, and cultural events to disrupt with relevant and provocative work that drives business.”

The agency announced that DeAnda, who served in the role for the past two years, would be leaving last month. That news preceded MillerCoors’ decision to move its creative business from TBWA to 180LA without a review.

Riley’s hire also fits into “2020,” the TBWA network’s plan to increase its internal female leadership by 20 percent before the year 2020. It follows the hire of GS&P’s Nancy Reyes to be managing director of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and the promotion of Lauren Niemcewicz to the same position at Chicago’s Engage.