Colleen DeCourcy and Dave Luhr take top roles in Wieden+Kennedy global reshuffle

Wieden+Kennedy is replacing global ECD John Jay – who’s off to run new innovation company W+K Garage with a new top duo, agency veteran Mark Fitzloff and digital wizard Colleen DeCourcy (pictured) who joins from Socialise, the New York social media agency she founded in 2010 and which is now part-owned by Havas. The two will be ‘global co-executive creative directors,’ which is a bit of a mouthful but that’s business.

Prior to Socialise DeCourcy was TBWA’s first chief digital officer where she worked on Adidas and Pepsi, among others. At Socialise she won the Red Bull and Fast Company accounts. W+K co-founder Dan Wieden (who’s taking on the new title of chairman of the global management team) says of DeCourcy: “Colleen brings an energy and a knowledge base that is second to none.”

In other changes Joe Staples replaces Fitzloff at W+K Portland, partnering co-executive creative director Susan Hoffman. Staples joined W+K in 2004. Dave Luhr, currently chief operations officer, replaces Wieden as agency president, in effect the boss.

What does it all mean? Obviously Jay had to be replaced and it makes sense to bring in someone from digital where W+K is competing hard, not least against WPP-owned AKQA which also works on foundation client Nike. As well as helping to fill Jay’s boots, DeCourcy also appears to be replacing the agency’s former head of digital, Brit Iain Tait, who quit to join Google in April.

As for Luhr (left), he’s been the heir apparent for some time and Wieden himself isn’t getting any younger (co-founder David Kennedy retired some years ago). More generally the changes seems to herald a renewed effort to build W+K’s global presence (currently it operates a BBH-style mini-network).

The problem with such ambitions is funding them without the help of a big rich uncle like one of the holding companies or another external investor. But W+K has enjoyed a highly successful last few years and more work from global giants like Procter & Gamble, Levi’s and Facebook as well as Nike may provide the firepower it needs.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.