R/GA Hires JWT Vet Charnock as Strategy Chief

R/GA is beefing up its strategy team by adding JWT exec William Charnock as chief strategy officer.
Charnock (pictured) comes to R/GA after serving as JWT New York’s director of strategy innovation since last spring, following a run as the agency’s co-head of strategic planning.

While there, he has worked on Domino’s, Merrill Lynch, Nokia and Johnson & Johnson. He spent eight years at JWT.
At R/GA, Charnock will lead the shop’s strategy, planning and research teams and development of strategic capability at R/GA in London and offices it is opening in Singapore and Brazil. The chief strategy officer role is new at the shop.
The hire is part of R/GA’s attempt to grow beyond its roots as an interactive specialist. It has added a branding practice and is competing for lead agency assignments. It won Ameriprise’s account in December.
Charnock will report to R/GA CEO Bob Greenberg. He finishes work at JWT this week.
Prior to joining JWT, Charnock held planning executive roles at FCB for one year and BBDO for two years, both in New York. Earlier, he worked at Ogilvy & Mather in London as a planning director.
In spring 2009, Charnock was named director of strategic innovations, a role focused on developing new practices and strategic partnerships. JWT New York’s other co-head of planning, Robin Bardolia, rose to chief strategic officer for North America.

Charnock’s new role comes as R/GA’s current planning chief, Anne Benvenuto, exits the agency.

R/GA currently has 15 planners. The shop plans to have 30 by the end of the year, according to Greenberg.

“It’s his experience that can help bring us to a new level in terms of strategic planning and research,” said Greenberg, who said he interviewed more than 20 candidates for the role.

R/GA next will look for a leader of its nascent media practice, Greenberg said, as it attempts to transform itself into a full-service agency.