Via Ups Smith to CCO

BOSTON Via said it has promoted Greg Smith to chief creative officer from executive creative director.

For the past several years, Smith has added creative oversight at the shop from Rich Rico, chief cultural officer and a founding partner, who said he is leaving the agency after 13 years. (Rico served as operational creative chief at Via for most of that tenure.)

In his new role, Smith is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of all creative initiatives for the Portland, Maine-based agency and its clients. Smith’s focus will extend to exploring alternative media vehicles and the development of creative teams. About 40 staffers report to Smith.

Smith joined Via in 1999 as communications director and has worked as a member of the agency’s senior management team to help drive the company’s expansion. Prior to joining Via, Smith was a founder of marketing shop Front Porch Productions.

“Greg’s strategic and creative input quickly made him an integral part of Via’s senior management team when he joined the company seven years ago,” said Via CEO John Coleman. “In his new position, Greg will bring Via’s creative product to the next level of excellence and innovation.”

Smith said, “The opportunity to work with our creative group as we continue to grow and differentiate from other agencies is both an honor and challenge that I welcome.”

Rico said he has been working on his departure strategy for more than a year. “The decision to leave was difficult. Over the years I have watched the agency grow and prosper,” said Rico, who will continue to serve Via in an advisory role.

Via ranks as one of New England’s largest independents, with close to $100 million in billings and satellite offices in Boston and New York. Key clients include Analog Devices, TD Banknorth, Kash n’ Karry/Sweetbay Supermarkets, Dunkin’ Donuts and CBS Radio.