Sophie Kelly Becomes CEO of The Barbarian Group

Co-founder Benjamin Palmer takes chairman role

Sophie Kelly, previously president of The Barbarian Group, is taking the reins of the digital agency as its new CEO.

Benjamin Palmer, who co-founded the agency in 2001 and has been its CEO since, will step up into the role of chairman, focusing on the agency's technological chops, and new business.

The Barbarian Group employs 105 staffers, mainly at its New York offices, working on brands like Samsung, PepsiCo, GE, and Bloomberg—its largest clients by revenue. The agency is part of Korean holding company Cheil, which bought a majority stake in The Barbarian Group in December 2009.

Kelly has served as the agency's president since 2011. Her prior roles in the industry include two years at StrawberryFrog as its managing director, and more than nine at JWT, six of those as a global business director working on Diageo accounts like Smirnoff.

"Sophie has helped us grow up as an agency and has played an instrumental role in building the business while maintaining our creative and tech-focused culture," said Palmer in a statement. "Sophie has been running the business operationally for some time, and this move is a recognition of her talent and achievements."

This year at Cannes, The Barbarian Group won the inaugural Grand Prix in the Innovation Lions category for Cinder, an open source creative coding tool.

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