Succession Time At Mullen: Leikikh Named CEO
Boston-based Mullen has named a new CEO—Alex Leikikh—as part of a transition plan orchestrated by the outgoing chief executive Joe Grimaldi, who will become chairman of the agency. Leikikh becomes the agency’s third CEO since its founding by Jim Mullen in 1970.
Leikikh, 40, joined Mullen in 2009 as Director of Account Service. He has been President in the agency’s Boston office since 2011. Since joining Mullen, Leikikh is credited with helping to reel in such high-profile new accounts as JetBlue, Acura, U.S. Cellular, American Greetings, Google, Zappos, Barnes & Noble, iRobot and FAGE.
Leikikh was previously with Fallon in Minneapolis where he was a senior account manager. Before that he was with Leo Burnett.
“Alex is my handpicked successor,” said Grimaldi, 62, who has been CEO of the IPG shop since 1999. “I was pretty certain he was the guy by the time our courtship concluded with him joining Mullen. My confidence has grown with every passing month and year as he and the leadership team have created head-turning success.”
Leikikh’s appointment is the capstone on a years-long effort by Grimaldi to modernize the agency. That effort began in 2007 with the relocation of Mullen to a new headquarters in downtown Boston after having been housed in a series of country estates. He then began to make over the senior management team with the recruitment of current Chief Creative Officer Mark Wenneker, the subsequent appointment of Chief Media Officer John Moore and the hiring of Chief Strategy Officer Kristen Cavallo. Together with Leikikh they form Mullen’s current executive leadership team.
Since Leikikh’s arrival at Mullen the agency has increased revenues by 115%, hired more than 250 new people and expanded to Los Angeles and San Francisco. In additional to its flagship office in Boston, Mullen also has offices in Pittsburgh and Winston-Salem, NC.
“It's true that when Joe recruited me to Mullen, I told him I wanted his job,” quipped Leikikh. “He laughed and gave me two things: a defined set of metrics to hit and enough rope to do the job…My plan is to keep Mullen focused on our clients and to continue to attract more challenger brands to our agency.”
Grimaldi will continue as Mullen Chairman through December 2015. He has been with Mullen for 31 years and became CEO 14 years ago, when the company was purchased by IPG. During his tenure, Mullen has grown over fourfold, and transformed from a local Boston shop to a national agency.