New York-based media agency RJ Palmer has hired Chris Boak as its first chief marketing officer. He will oversee the marketing and business development initiatives at the agency.
The hire comes just weeks after the shop was acquired by Toronto-based agency holding company MDC Partners for an estimated $25 million, although Palmer’s CMO recruitment process started before and was separate from the acquisition talks.
According to Palmer CEO Peter Knobloch, CMO duties were divvied up among himself and other senior executives at the firm. “In the past, we didn’t have the resources for somebody to do that job singularly,” Knobloch said.
But the company’s double-digit revenue growth over the past couple of years has justified expansion on a number of fronts, he said, including the creation of a branded content operation and the opening of a barter trading unit.
Recent client wins included the Game Show Network and nutrition company South Beach Corp.
Organic growth has also added to the company’s revenue coffers, said Knobloch -- noting that last year, its biggest client, Boehringer Ingelheim, made a major marketing push for its new prescription drug Pradaxa.
Boak, who will be based in New York, was previously North America director of business development at ad shop Cheil Worldwide. Earlier, he had stints at Cliff Freeman & Partners and Ammirati Puris.
The MDC acquisition is, in part, the holding company’s strategy to bulk up on the media side of the advertising business. Up to now, its acquisitions have focused on creative agencies and specialty marketing firms. The company’s stated goal is to reach $10 billion in media billings in the next five to 10 years.
The acquisition of RJP, with current billings of over $800 million, nearly doubles MDC’s total, bringing it to nearly $2 billion.