Advertising and marketing veteran John Partilla has joined Minneapolis-based independent ad shop Olson as CEO. Partilla succeeds Kevin DiLorenzo, a 10-year Olson veteran who took over the CEO reins from agency founder John Olson in 2010. The agency said DiLorenzo would remain with the agency as a shareholder, director and senior adviser to Partilla, “ensuring a smooth transition."
A 27-year industry veteran, Partilla most recently was chief operating officer of Dentsu Network West, where he had operational responsibility for a portfolio of agencies such as McGarryBowen, FirstBorn and 360i throughout the Americas and Europe. He is credited with helping to boost organic growth for the operations at the Dentsu unit by more than 30%.
John Olson, who founded the namesake agency in 1992 and who currently holds the title of co-chairman, stated that Partilla’s “experience with driving national and international brands, as well as his sheer enthusiasm for the agency, makes him the absolute right person to help drive us to the next level.”
Partilla previously led global media sales at both Clear Channel Communications and Time Warner. He spent the first two decades of his career in various roles within Young & Rubicam (now part of WPP) where he was a managing partner, as well as founder and CEO of its BrandBuzz unit.
Olson, with 425 employees, is a full-service ad agency with offices in Chicago and Toronto in addition to its Minneapolis headquarters. Clients include Amtrak, Best Buy, MillerCoors, Northwestern Mutual, Target, Saucony and Wrigley.
In a statement Partilla characterized the shop that he will now oversee as one that does “great business- and brand-building work …Olson’s holistic model is truly the real deal. More and more, you’re going to see us punching above our weight.”