Wieden Vet Russell Joins Leopold Ketel & Partners

LOS ANGELES–John Russell, former group account director on the Coca-Cola account at Wieden + Kennedy, has joined Portland, Ore., shop Leopold Ketel & Partners as president and partner.

Russell, 48, spent 14 years at Wieden. Before his departure in October, Russell worked out of that agency’s Portland, Ore., office, on Diet Coke, Powerade and projects for Coca-Cola Classic. During his tenure at Wieden, he was also an account director on the Nike account, was global account director on Microsoft, and served as managing director of Wieden’s Amsterdam office.

Russell said his position at Wieden was eliminated following the loss of the Diet Coke account to Lowe in New York.

In his new post, Russell will help oversee account management, strategic planning, marketing and new business for the shop. He reports to managing director Jaime Leopold, 55, who has assumed the title of CEO. The agency’s three other partners, Jerry Ketel, Terra Spencer and Darcie Meihoff, will remain in their current management positions.

“I felt very, very comfortable and inspired by the people here,” Russell said of the 15-person shop. “It reminded me of what it felt like at Wieden in 1988. They’re young and smart and really ambitious people who have something going on and are ready to take on the world.”

Said Leopold, “We’re looking for him to help us be a regional, and possibly a national, player.”

Leopold Ketel claimed 2001 billings of $11.5 million. Its clients include Bidwell & Co., Hood River Distillers, Liberty Northwest Insurance, Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Oregon State Fair and Transitions for Health.