BBH Names Innovation Chief

Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York has named Ben Malbon, founder of BBH Labs, executive director of innovation.

The role is a new agency-wide position, said Greg Andersen, CEO of BBH, meant to foster innovation around brand platforms, agency partnerships and internal processes throughout the agency.

Malbon also continues to maintain oversight for BBH Labs, a well-regarded brand innovations unit.

“For us, taking the founder of BBH Labs — once sitting on the outside of the agency and putting him right into the heart of the agency — reinforces our position as a creative company rather than a company with a creative department,” said Andersen. “It’s [about] creativity in all that we do.”

Malbon, 37, reports to Andersen and CCO Kevin Roddy and comes to the job from a background in planning. Malbon joined the New York agency two-and-a-half years ago as head of account planning after working at the agency’s London headquarters for nearly three years.

He founded BBH Labs in fall 2008. The unit has worked with clients such as Google in Europe, on the launch of Google Chrome, and Westin Hotels, on the development of the hotel chain’s Amazon storefront.

“BBH Labs is about helping BBH become smarter about change,” said Malbon. “My job in terms of innovation is about changing the shape and processes and speed of the way that the business works.”

The agency has had an executive in an innovation role in the past, but that post was limited to the creative department. Robert Rasmussen was named ecd of innovation in fall 2008, but he left less than a year later and he is currently CCO at Tribal DDB.

Malbon now takes on “a much broader role” than Rasmussen had, Andersen explained.