McCann’s Karlsson Hires New ECD Natalie Lam

Digital exec launched Nike+

Linus Karlsson is adding another top creative exec to the management team he's assembling at McCann and, no, it is not another of the Swede’s countrymen. He’s hired Natalie Lam, the Cannes Cyber Grand Prix and Titanium award-winner who launched Nike+ at R/GA, to become an executive creative director in the agency’s N.Y. office.

Lam, a Hong Kong native, has been based in China since 2008 as regional creative director, Asia at OgilvyOne and ecd at OgilvyOne, Shanghai.

Lam will work with Mark Fallows, McCann N.Y.’s director of creative technology who joined from the network’s London office last October, to build out the agency’s digital creative offerings. But Karlsson, the chief creative officer of McCann NY and London, underscores she will be involved across all of McCann N.Y.’s accounts.

“I deliberately did not want her title to be ‘executive creative director, digital’ because that’s not the way the world works,” he said. “Even though she will play an amazing digital role here, she will work closely with me because digital is at the core of everything we do.”

Lam is the latest senior addition Karlsson has made since the Mother N.Y. co-founder joined McCann in February. In May he hired Matias Palm-Jensen, a founder of the former Swedish digital hot shop Farfar, as chief innovation officer for McCann Europe. He also recruited Andreas Dahlqvist, an ecd and managing partner at DDB Stockholm, as vice chairman, ecd McCann NY.  The other ecds in NY are George Dewey, Craig Markus, Steve Ohler and Leslie Sims.

There was also a notable new business addition last month as Weight Watchers named McCann NY as its social media agency of record, an unusual move to a network agency away from the marketer’s digital roster.

Prior to OgilvyOne, Lam was a creative director at R/GA, N.Y., where she led the global and U.S. accounts for Nike+ and NikeiD running accounts.

After graduating from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, Lam began her career at the design firm of Frankfurt Balkind Partners. She later started a creative group for technology consultants Cambridge Technology Partners and ran the creative department of an independent interactive agency, Iconixx.

Unlike many creatives who come from digital backgrounds, Lam said she enjoys working in  general agency environments as well as specialized shops.

“Sometimes digital agencies tend to protect digital but to me digital is any media that plugs into an outlet; it’s just an alternate channel and part of everything we do,” she said.