Critical Mass Strengthens Chicago, LA Offices

by , Jan 13, 2014, 7:00 AM
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Critical Mass the Calgary-headquartered Omnicom digital agency is bulking up key offices across the U.S. and UK.

Last week the shop confirmed the hiring of a pair of senior executives from Interpublic’s Huge—Chief Creative Officer Conor Brady and CMO Chris Hayes. The pair will help expand the shop’s New York office from an outpost with about 20 employees to a full service office and major agency hub with about 50 staffers over the next year.

At the same time the agency said it was merging its London operation with that of another Omnicom digital shop, Agency Republic.

Now the firm is adding senior staff and management to its Chicago and Los Angeles offices. Client executive Amanda Levy has been promoted to General Manager for the Los Angeles and Chicago offices and will continue to oversee the agency’s Nissan and Infiniti accounts.

Also, Suzanne Michaels has joined the agency as Executive Creative Director and will oversee creative efforts for both the Chicago and Los Angeles offices. And Lisa Penelton has been tapped as VP Marketing Science.

Previously Michaels was with Publicis Groupe’s DigitasLBi and led creative for Team Sprint. She will report to Levy and Brady, and join the agency’s Global Creative Council.

Penelton will oversee data management and marketing analytics in the U.S. and will be based in Chicago. Previously she was Group Director of Consumer Insights at the Chicago office of Publicis Groupe’s Razorfish.

According to Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins the hires and the London agency merger are the result of a year-long planning process to help drive growth at the agency and to keep it “at the leading edge” in terms of talent and capabilities.

The shop positions itself as expert in helping clients create “cumulative customer experiences,” said Wilkins. “The customer is at the center of everything.”

The moves come in the wake of a strong fourth quarter for the agency, said Wilkins. During the period the agency won several new accounts including Guardsman, the furniture care division of Valspar Corp., which is being handled out of Chicago, and South Africa Tourism, being led out London.

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