San Diego-based digital marketing and tech firm Mindgruve has hired Mike Hodges as president. Hodges will also become a Managing Partner of Mindgruve Ventures, a tech innovation group focused on accelerating early stage startups.
Previously Hodges was President of The San Diego Union-Tribune, where he is credited with having spearheaded the digital transformation of the company from a regional newspaper group into a national, integrated media organization with large-scale print, TV and digital properties.
Hodges also has an entrepreneurial track record--he built and sold several startups including an advertising technology company that was acquired by Google’s DoubleClick.
At Mindgruve, Hodges is tasked with developing growth and innovation strategies for its client roster which has expanded significantly over the past year. Recent new business wins include Opus Bank, Scripps Health, Agilent Technologies and Bad Boy clothing and fight gear.
The Union-Tribune has been a Mindgruve client for a number of years and agency CEO Chad Robley said he and Hodges worked together on numerous projects. “We’ve had a lot of success together and gotten to know each other well,” he said.
In fact, Hodges is the second executive in a little more than a year that the agency has tapped from the Union-Tribune for a senior position. Last year Dan Hellbusch, former VP, Interactive at UT San Diego joined Mindgruve as chief operating officer. “They’re two of the smartest guys I’ve met,” Robley said of the hires.
Meanwhile Robley has big expansion plans for the agency both through internal growth and potential acquisitions. Last fall he hired Gary Brose, a former senior executive with Apple’s Digital Solutions operation as managing director tasked with developing East Coast business. According to Robley, he wants to see the agency’s small New York outpost evolve into a full-fledged agency operation. And there’s still lots of room for growth in the San Diego area, he said.
“We’re gearing up to take advantage of our momentum,” he said. Given the level of high-touch service they provide, he added, “strong independent agencies are increasingly resonating and connecting with brands.”