McKinney's Joni Madison Leaves After More Than A Decade As COO

Adland is losing one of its most accomplished female executives to the public interest sector. Joni Madison, COO of Cheil Worldwide’s McKinney, is leaving in May for the Washington, DC-based Human Rights Campaign—the LGBT activist group.

She has been appointed COO and Chief of Staff.

Madison will oversee and manage all operations, business functions and board relations, as well as manage HRC’s finance, human resources, diversity, general counsel, facilities and administrative functions.

Madison joined McKinney in 1992 as a senior broadcast producer. Named director of operations in 2001, she was promoted to partner and COO in June 2003. According to the agency, Madison is one of just 37 female COOs among 4A’s agency members. Based in Durham, NC, the agency also has an office in New York.

“When Joni told me about this opportunity, my first reaction was that I couldn’t imagine McKinney without her,” said Brad Brinegar, McKinney Chairman and CEO. “And then that I couldn’t imagine her not taking the job. It’s the culmination of her long-held personal ambition to have a position where she could literally change the world...Joni has had a lot of practice for this new chapter of her life, leaving an indelible mark on the agency and Durham.”

In addition to her accomplishments at the agency, Madison is credited with helping to revitalize Durham’s downtown section.

She oversaw the agency’s move to the American Tobacco Campus there in 2004, one of the first big companies to move into the refurbished structure, while simultaneously sprucing up McKinney’s image with a new “destination space.” She was appointed chair of the executive board of Downtown Durham Inc. in 2008 and 2013.

Madison’s transition to the HRC should be a relatively smooth one—she’s been a volunteer leader there for the past 15 years. She served as the co-chair of the HRC’s Board of Directors from 2012-2014 and was a member of HRC’s Board of Directors from 2007 to 2014. She also served as co-chair of HRC’s 5-Year Strategy Plan in 2009-2010.

The agency said there are no immediate plans to replace Madison.  

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