Kayak Nabs Retcho as VP of Brand Marketing

The TBWA\Chiat\Day reunion continues at Kayak.com.

Stephanie Retcho, managing director at Omnicom Group’s TBWA\C\D in New York, is joining the online travel site as vp of brand marketing—a new position. Retcho, who starts Jan. 31, will report to chief marketing officer Robert Birge, himself a former managing director at TBWA\C\D New York.

The Retcho hire comes two months after Kayak hired Barton F. Graf 9000 in New York to replace Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as lead creative agency. The new agency’s founder is Gerry Graf, former chief creative officer at none other than TBWA\C\D New York.

Birge, Graf and Retcho worked well together at their old shop, on brands such as Nextel, and later, Sprint Nextel. Retcho acknowledged that familiarity with her former colleagues was a factor in her decision to join Kayak.

In her new role, Retcho will manage ad efforts and help develop the strategy behind mobile marketing initiatives, Birge said. She becomes the fifth executive in Kayak’s marketing group. Last year, the brand spent nearly $25 million in major measured media, according to Nielsen.

Although Retcho has held account management roles at agencies in the past, “I would never describe her as an account person,” Birge said. “She’s a strategic marketer. She understands the businesses she works on and she understands the role of marketing within a company.”

Kayak marks the second time that Retcho has worked on the client side. From 2002 until late 2003, she was director of acquisition and subscriber marketing at Sirius in New York.

Retcho, 41, had three tours at TBWA\C\D. From 2000 until 2002, she was a connections strategist under then executive media director Nick McLean. She rejoined the agency in July 2003 as a group account director on Nextel and stayed until 2007, when she became a group managing director on Verizon Wireless at Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson in New York.

In December 2009, she returned to TBWA\C\D in the managing director role, with a focus on managing existing clients, including Vonage and Mars. The shop, which could not immediately be reached, is expected to fill the position.