Deb Freeman to Lead Strategy at FCB Garfinkel

Agency planning vet spent a decade with Grey Group

FCB Worldwide has hired Deb Freeman, a 10-year veteran of the Grey Group, to serve as chief strategy officer of its FCB Garfinkel unit in New York, effective Feb. 1.

Freeman most recently served as executive strategy director at Grey New York, where she played a formative role in the agency's long-term turnaround from a WPP roster shop to Adweek's Global Agency of the Year.

During her tenure leading group planning and executive strategy teams at Grey, Freeman contributed to a string of new business wins including T.J. Maxx, Ally Financial, RadioShack, Pandora, the Whitney Museum of American Art and many more. Her "change agent" approach to existing business also helped clients like Pringles, Canon, 3M and Ketel One improve returns by engaging more directly with consumers.

She also assisted in developing the agency's larger vision, putting those principles into practice and building Grey Group's internal culture.

In the new role, Freeman will report directly to FCB Garfinkel CEO Lee Garfinkel while working closely with FCB Worldwide global chief strategy officer Nigel Jones.

Garfinkel said, "Deb is a strategic visionary who knows and understands the impact of unraveling the 'why' behind insights and human behavior and the impact that can have on our communities, culture and the world at large. We're excited to have her on board."

Jones in turn praised Freeman's "keen instinct for identifying consumer and cultural trends before they reach the tipping point," adding, "I look forward to partnering with her."

Prior to joining Grey in 2007, Freeman worked as a freelance consultant providing planning and strategy services to such brands as JetBlue, Armani Exchange and Kodak and partnering with agencies like Razorfish. She also held in-house positions at MDC Partners' KBS and Nick and Paul, The Brand Agency, where she helped develop new product and marketing strategies for Coca-Cola.

"As a strategist, knowledge and insights are at the heart of what I do," Freeman said. "One of the things that attracted me to FCB is the company's keen emphasis on the power of understanding human behavior, and the tremendous effect this can have in helping brands serve as cultural change agents as well as provide meaningful value to consumers' lives."