West Coast art director Gavin Lester has joined Zambezi as an equity partner and chief creative officer. He is the first person to hold that title at the Venice-based agency, in which he also becomes an equity partner and reports directly to COO Jean Freeman.
His last big job was EVP, ECD at Deutsch, where he led the Sprint team in Los Angeles. After the L.A. office lost that account and parted with a series of staffers as a result, Lester freelanced with several area companies like 72andSunny and Zambezi itself.
Lester has an extensive history in the business, rising from a JWT internship to work as an art director at Havas and BBH London, an ACD at GS&P and a creative director at Team One and 180LA, where he worked on Sony and Boost Mobile.
The independent Zambezi, which recently turned 10 years old, has been on a hiring streak of sorts over the past six-plus months.
The addition of Pereira & O’Dell’s Janine Zaim to the agency as its first director of recruiting preceded the hires of group account director and Droga5 veteran Chris Einhauser, director of comms planning Danielle Pak, formerly with Wieden + Kennedy Portland, and a team of three new creatives who came aboard last month.
This shift really started in the summer of 2015 with the hirings of ECD Josh DiMarcantonio and Kristina Jenkins in the newly created role of chief strategy officer.
According to Zambezi’s homepage, Lester spends his time outside the industry raising two kids along with “pot-belly pigs, chickens, rabbits, and the occasional goat.”