VML Promotes 2 to North American CCO Roles, Hires Director of Creative Recruiting

By Erik Oster 

VML promoted John Godsey and Mike Wente to roles as North American chief creative officers, tasked with overseeing VML’s creative across the U.S. The agency also hired Craig Badynee as director, creative recruiting. All three will report to global chief creative officer Debbi Vandeven, who announced the news yesterday. 

“John excels at creating brand ideas that change perceptions and blur the lines between advertising and entertainment,” Vandeven said in a statement. “In 2010, after joining VML to lead branded content creation, John was quickly promoted to executive creative director where he led efforts for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.”

In January of 2015, Godsey took on the added responsibility of heading the creative department at VML’s global headquarters in Kansas City. At VML, he’s worked with brands including Wendy’s, Gatorade and the International Olympic Committee. Before joining VML he spent seven years as a group creative director with JWT/Team Detroit, managing a team that specialized in emerging media, branded content and branded entertainment. Prior to that he was a vice president, creative with FCB Chicago, working with brands including Coors Light, Digiorno Pizza, Tombstone Pizza and Illinois Tourism.


Wente joined VML as a creative director in 2007, earned a promotion to group creative director two years later and most recently served as executive creative director and managing director of VML New York. With VML he has worked with brands including Legoland, New Balance, Chevron, Motorola and the International Olympic Committee and the New York office has more than doubled in size under over the past four years. Before joining VML he spent over five years as a senior art director with Nicholson Kovac, Inc.

Badynee will be tasked with leading talent acquisition for VML’s creative teams across the U.S. out of the agency’s Chicago office. He joins VML following serving in creative recruiting roles at agencies including JWT, FCB, Digital Kitchen and DigitasLBi.

“Craig is tapped into the industry and cultural trends, he is resourceful and energetic and has a unique music background that enhances his own creative skills in this position,” Vandeven said. “His addition to the team further strengthens our recruitment reach.”