GS&P Elevates Leadership Team
- August 25, 2016
Goodby Silverstein & Partners announced that Margaret Johnson, partner and executive creative director, will become chief creative officer, and Derek Robson, managing partner, will ascend to president. As part of the rising leadership team, Brian McPherson, director of account management, and Leslie Barrett, director of new business, along with Bonnie Wan, director of brand strategy, and Christine Chen, director of communication strategy, will all become full partners.
McPherson and Barrett will also assume the title of managing partner.
Agency Founders and Co-Chairmen Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein will remain involved in the creative, but with Johnson continuing to oversee the department.
“We are reinventing our company every day,” said Co-Chairman Jeff Goodby, “and these are the people who will formulate the big changes, come up with the big ideas that will keep us not just relevant but game-changing. Our new president, chief creative officer, and new partners will make a difference immediately — and down the line, five and ten years from now.”
A 20-year agency veteran, Johnson was promoted to executive creative director in 2014 and to partner in 2012. This year she led GS&P to the third-most award-winning year in the agency’s history, which resulted in 13 Cannes Lions for multiple campaigns: Frito-Lay’s “DORITOS Rainbows,” SONIC’s “#SquareShakes,” “Unacceptable Acceptance Letters,” the Ad Council’s “I Am a Witness” and the Dalí Museum’s “Dreams of Dalí” (an Oculus Rift experience). In 2016, Ad Age named Johnson a Woman to Watch.
“Margaret has grown up at GS&P and has the DNA of the agency in her blood,” said Rich Silverstein. “She’s fearless and has led us with innovative creative thinking that taps into culture. She’s earned the admiration of our people and our clients, and there is no one else we would want to carry forth our legacy.”
New President Robson joined GS&P in 2005 and helped the agency position itself for the future, leading a major reorganization of GS&P for the digital age. The changes led to several Agency of the Year and Digital Agency of the Year awards throughout the following decade. In his new role, he will be responsible for providing strategic leadership for the agency by working with the partners and other members of the agency’s management team.
Brian McPherson, director of account management and a 20-year agency veteran, and Leslie Barrett, director of new business and a 16-year agency veteran, will now oversee operations, agency P&L and client and talent retention in their new roles as managing partners.
McPherson played a key role in leading Frito-Lay to some of its most award-winning campaigns, including DORITOS “Rainbows” and “Crash the Super Bowl.” McPherson’s team also developed Frito-Lay’s social media community efforts, which produced “Chester for Mayor” for CHEETOS and “Chip Kelly” for TOSTITOS. Additionally, he is now leading Adobe and Princess Cruises.
Barrett’s teams have consistently developed work awarded for both creativity and effectiveness across clients, including SONIC Drive-In, Häagen-Dazs, Thorn and Comcast. Over the years Barrett has led a number of the agency’s new business wins and, as a result, the agency recently evolved her role to Director of New Business. In the first six months of 2016, the agency’s wins have included StubHub, the Golden State Warriors, GREE and significant organic growth on Comcast and Frito-Lay.
Bonnie Wan, who has worked with GS&P in three separate stints since 1998, and Christine Chen, a 12-year GS&P veteran, will oversee brand and communication strategy, respectively. From SONIC’s “#SquareShakes” to Frito-Lay’s “DORITOS Rainbows” to Comcast’s “Emily’s Oz” to Adobe’s “I Am a Witness” anti-bullying emoji, Wan’s and Chen’s teams have played a key role in developing surprising new ways for people to experience and engage with brands.
In her new role as partner, Wan will continue to oversee brand strategy. She will also focus on accelerating the role GS&P plays in being a place where staff can maximize their potential both personally and professionally. Chen will continue to push the communication-strategy agenda of using media know-how and insights to amplify strategy and creative ideas, as well as to maintain rigor around how GS&P diagnoses business problems and approaches work.