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Dispatch from Texas

After our story yesterday on Lone Star State agencies coping with the brutal effects of the polar vortex, we received a sad email from Lana McGilvray, who runs new Purpose Worldwide and whose husband DJ Stout, runs Pentagram.

Pentagram’s Austin office “was totally lost yesterday due to the storm. DJ (my husband) and I were headed to the office yesterday to try and warm up with my daughter and 86-year-old father-in-law as we were worried about them in the cold with no access to heat or electricity, and heard there may be electricity near the office. As we arrived, the ceilings were ‘raining,’ the roof had caved in, art was falling from the walls and there was about a foot of water on the floor. Twenty years worth of Pentagram books, magazines, etc., were damaged or lost,” writes McGilvray. “I moved here from New York City 20 years ago. We’ve never experienced anything like this. The loss of Pentagram is heartbreaking.”

The crisis that shops like Pentagram have been going through has not gone unnoticed in the greater ad community. Howie Kleinberg, president of New York’s GLOW, contacted us with an offer to help out shops in the Texas area who might want an assist with production or other duties until they get back on their feet. Texas agencies in need can reach him at [email protected] 

And speaking of community …

The Community has appointed creative veteran Kash Sree as executive creative director, to lead the agency’s Verizon partnership.

Sree’s career spans 30 years as a creative leader at numerous top agencies around the world, including BBH New York, Gryo Pereira & Odell, JWT and Wieden+Kennedy, where he made a splash with celebrated Nike work including the Grand Prix-winning “Play” campaign.

Sree will report to Founder and Chief Creative Officer Joaquin Molla. Along with spearheading the agency’s creative vision for Verizon, he will also work to champion diverse creative talent and leadership at the agency. 

“Kash’s work speaks for itself,” Molla said in a statement. “He has a strong point of view, and he’s always been fearless in his pursuit of creativity. Kash is willing to take a stand for great work, and that’s exactly what we love about him. I have no doubt that Kash will challenge us and bring his leadership and creativity to continue to make the work, and the community, better.”

Fallon’s new leadership trio

Fallon has elevated three execs to top leadership roles. Managing Director Kara Buckner is stepping up to agency president, while Nikki Baker and Leslie Shaffer, former exec creative directors at the agency’s New York office, are now co-chief creative officers across both agency offices in Minneapolis and New York. 

Over the past year, the trio has led new work for brands including Walmart, KeyBank, American Home Shield and Back Market. In their new posts, they will be responsible for leading the agency through the client and cultural challenges that have emerged during the pandemic while addressing the shifting media environment. Matt Garcia will continue in his role as managing director in New York, after joining from Publicis Groupe partner agency Rokkan last summer. All four will report to CEO Rocky Novak. 

All’s OK at AKQA

AKQA has named former SpaceX Design Director Hillary Coe as principal of experience. Though she will be based in the agency’s San Francisco office, she serves as part of its North American Leadership team and will work across all U.S. studios. 

In her previous post, Coe provided design and human experience leadership at SpaceX in collaboration with NASA. Prior to that, she served as a creative director at Google.

The agency has also appointed product design veteran JoRoan Lazaro to lead the creative team at its New York studio. Lazaro’s experience spans more than two decades, during which he served in leadership roles at Elephant, BBH, Havas and The Barbarian Group. 

Also on the move

Helen Lin, chief digital officer for Publicis Media, has been bumped up to chief digital officer for Publicis Groupe. Lin will now oversee digital strategy, partnerships, investment and negotiations, along with driving digital opportunities across the holding company. She will report into Dave Penski, global chairman for PMX and CEO of Publicis Media U.S.

Translation is broadening its team by adding Alison Hill as head of production and Joel Rodiguez as executive director of engagement planning, both reporting to President Ann Wool. Hill hails from Wieden+Kennedy, where she was a producer on accounts like ESPN’s SportsCenter, Bud Light, and Ford Motor Co. Rodiguez began his career at Translation as an intern in 2011 and is credited with building out the shop’s context planning department, which Translation says “taps into culture to elevate a campaign’s journey.”

Rahel Rasu has been named global chief communications officer at IPG Mediabrands, reporting to Global CEO Daryl Lee. “Rahel understands the power of culture and believes in communications that support our people, our clients, our brands and our values,” said Lee. “Her partnership across the organization will be invaluable as we continue to share our vision for a tech-supported but humanity-centered media future.” This is a homecoming of sorts for Rasu, who was senior VP, global communications at McCann Worldgroup, before joining Omnicom’s DDB Worldwide as head of global communications. 

From the ‘we told you so’ department

Back in September, we reported that WPP Group was in discussions to back the breakaway agency from R/GA led by the shop’s then Vice Chairman and Global Chief Strategy Officer Barry Wacksman, Global Chief Innovation Officer Saneel Radia and New York VP Executive Creative Director Mike Rigby. It took a few months, but the holding company has now confirmed it owns a stake in the new agency called Proto. Said WPP CEO Mark Read: “The Proto team has an incredible track record of delivering business and brand transformation for global clients. We’re delighted to be investors and partners in the new venture as it sets out to disrupt the traditional management consulting business.”

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