Wieden Taps Digital Chief

LOS ANGELES Renny Gleeson next week will join independent Wieden + Kennedy’s Portland, Ore., headquarters as global director of digital strategies, a new position.

Gleeson, 38, was hired from Aegis Group’s Carat Fusion, where he was senior vice president and managing director, working at the shop’s New York and Atlanta offices.

At Wieden, he reports to the agency’s global leadership team, including CEO Dan Wieden and chief operating officer Dave Luhr.

“The agency doesn’t want digital to be just another media function,” Gleeson said. “One the great advantages of the agency is its independence, with none of the issues of holding companies. And their creative speaks for itself. So if anyone has the chance to do it right, it’s them.”

At Carat Fusion, Gleeson worked on brands such as Alberto-Culver, Pfizer, Philips and Schick. Gleeson said that despite the shop’s specialization in new media, there remained “an artificial space between creative and media” that doesn’t suit today’s digital marketplace. “How do you create a coherent online media strategy without creative and media linked?” he asked.

With a background in the fine arts, Gleeson traded junk bonds for a time before creating online games for the Pathfinder network (later to become AOL/Time Warner).

Gleeson has also worked for the National Basketball Association, “monetizing their digital assets” as the league’s senior director of global media and interactive marketing, and in the creative department at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi in New York.

Gleeson sees his role as “leveraging the seat at the table that [Wieden] already has” by virtue of its “game-changing creativity.”

The shop’s key clients include Electronic Arts, Nike and Starbucks.