Grey Taps Golden for N.Y. Digital Lead

Bucking a recent industry trend of not hiring digital chiefs, Grey has hired Euro RSCG’s Josh Golden in the new position of chief digital officer for the shop’s New York office.

Golden, 39, leads a core group of about 25 digital specialists spanning account management, strategic services, creative, technology, analytics and project management, an agency representative said. He started this week and reports to Jim Heekin, CEO of both of Grey Group and the New York office.

Earlier this year, digital chiefs exited TBWA, Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather, with each agency not filling the role going forward, albeit for different reasons.

TBWA and Ogilvy have directed local offices to develop their individual digital capabilities, and Y&R relies on sister shop VML — with which the ad agency forged an alliance last year — to lead its digital charge.

Other agencies, however, continue to employ digital chiefs — including Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi and Havas’ Euro RSCG — so WPP Group’s Grey is not alone in going this route.

In a statement, Heekin described the appointment as a “clear signal of Grey’s mandate to place digital at the core of our business.” He described Golden as a “successful digital evangelist” who has a “wealth of knowledge, creativity and experience in new media that will help Grey provide clients with fully integrated marketing solutions.”

Grey New York’s clients include Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster), Pfizer, Diageo and E-Trade.

At the New York office of Euro RSCG, Golden was managing director of digital. He spent nearly three years at the shop. Before that, he was group director of digital marketing at NBC Universal in New York.

Earlier in his career, Golden spent more than five years at WPP’s Young & Rubicam in New York, first as an interactive strategist and lastly as integrated account director on then key client AT&T. He left Y&R in January 2006 to join NBC Universal.

At Grey, Golden plans to expand the core digital group to further the integration of digital into the operation. “It really can’t be a separate function — separate and siloed. It needs to be fully integrated,” Golden said.