Wunderman Fills Its Top Creative Job in New York

Toni Hess joins select group of female creative leaders

Yes, there's a paucity of women in top creative roles in advertising. But that isn't what drove Wunderman's Jamie Gallo to hire Toni Hess as chief creative officer for the shop's offices in New York and Atlanta.

Rather, Hess' diversity of experience, in terms of media channels, types of agencies and brands, distiguished her from the other two final candidates that Gallo considered.

Hess has worked at traditional shops like FCB and JWT, digital direct marketing shop Rosetta, and even started an agency of her own, Goodly. Along the way, she has touched brands such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Nivea, JPMorgan Chase, Diet Coke and Kleenex.

"She has big brand experience. And the Rosetta piece—just being able to set up a creative department in effectively what was a consultancy was attractive," said Gallo, the new president of Wunderman New York. "She has always been able to tackle hard jobs. She's a relentless person, very determined to achieve."

And while Gallo is well aware of the lack of female creative leaders in the business, he said that didn't play a role in his selection. 

"We're in a little bit of a transformational stage and I wanted the best person that would help us achieve that," Gallo said, simply. "It came down to all those things but [also] somebody who I knew would partner with our clients and who would be terrific in new business, who could sell this offering that we are building here. And I thought she was hands-down the best person."

New York employs about 70 creative staffers, and Atlanta, a service office for Coca-Cola, employs about 10. Top accounts in New York, which has a total staff of about 250, include Citi, Best Buy, United Airlines and Land Rover.

Hess, who closed down Goodly before taking the Wunderman job, fills a vacancy left by the February exit of Nick Moore, who held the role for more than seven years. Moore has since landed at Roar as executive creative director. Wunderman's new creative leader starts today.