Susan Cantor Named CEO Red Peak Branding

Red Peak Branding has promoted Susan Cantor to CEO. She replaces James Fox, who is leaving the agency. Cantor, the former CEO of Interpublic’s Lowe New York, joined Red Peak nine months ago as president.

Cantor is credited with leading Red Peak Branding to a number of new account wins, including investment banking and asset management firm William Blair & Co.

Said Red Peak founder Michael Birkin, to whom Cantor reports: “She’s been a key contributor to Red Peak’s significant growth over the past year,” he added, noting that she had helped the agency grow organically in addition to leading the firm to new business wins.

Birkin sold Red Peak Group to Hakuhodo DY Holdings in 2014 when the Japan-based ad-marketing holding company formed a unit called the kyu collective which Birkin now oversees with a mandate to expand the business. Last year the company acquired Canadian ad shop Sid Lee.



Cantor built her career at Lowe New York and its predecessor agencies, becoming president in 2004 and then CEO a year later. After leaving Lowe, she pursued entrepreneurial endeavors, notably as partner and COO of global strategic innovation firm Thinktopia.

Birkin formed Red Peak six years ago with Intel as its charter client. While the agency prospered, Cantor noted, she joined with a mandate to boost its business development, or “hunting gene” as she put it.

In addition to new business, Cantor has focused on ways that the agency can grow organically. She cited Acer as one example, whose business is now consolidated with the agency’s Taipei office where Acer is based.

Red Peak Branding’s other office, and headquarters, is in New York. Currently, Cantor said, there are no plans to add other offices; instead she’ll focus on growing the two existing operations, while exploring potential synergies within the broader Red Peak Group which also has offices in Los Angeles, London and Rio di Janeiro.

Cantor said that she will also continue to hone several of the agency’s offerings including its strategy /positioning and naming practices (Red Peak partnered with MTV to create a name for the post-Millennial Generation), while developing new offerings as well.

She’s been instrumental in building out the firm’s Red Peak Youth (RPY) operation which it launched in 2014. It’s dedicated to connecting marketers with Millennials. Pfizer engaged Red Peak Youth for brand strategy work on Chapstick; the History Channel used it for brand strategy work. 

Last year, Cantor oversaw the development of the firm’s Y-Value Analytics process, a tool designed to help marketers understand how they are perceived by Millennials and to help clients strengthen ties to the demographic. 

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