Portland, Ore, December 12, 2011— Independent advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) announced today the appointment of four new partners: Portland Managing Director Tom Blessington, London Managing Director Neil Christie, Portland Executive Creative Director Mark Fitzloff and Global Interactive Executive Creative Director Iain Tait.
They join Dan Wieden, Dave Luhr, Susan Hoffman, Bill Davenport, John Jay, Tony Davidson and Kim Papworth as agency partners of the global Wieden+Kennedy network. This is the agency’s first partnership addition since Davidson and Papworth were appointed in 2009.
“We are very picky, very slow and deliberate when it comes to adding new partners. The truth is we have an abundance of talent throughout the network with new opportunities popping up quite regularly,” said Dan Wieden, co-founder and CEO of Wieden+Kennedy. “These four new partners bring fresh perspectives and skill sets to critical areas this agency and this industry will face in the years ahead. I am thrilled. It is like our brain and our heart just made a growth spurt.”
Tom Blessington first joined W+K in 1990 after working for Hill Holliday in Boston. Over the course of the next 12 years, he ran the Nike accounts in both W+K’s Portland and Amsterdam offices, worked as group account director for Miller Brewing Company and Coca-Cola in the Portland office, and was the first managing director of W+K’s New York office, which he expanded from a media-buying operation to a full-service creative shop. Blessington then spent four years at TBWAChiatDay in LA before returning to W+K Portland as managing director in 2006.
“Helping to lead this agency at another level is both humbling and a tremendous honor. I couldn’t be more inspired or motivated,” commented Blessington. “It took 18 years but it was worth the wait.”
Neil Christie began his career in advertising at ABM and in the 1980s helped build Yellowhammer into a top 20 agency renowned for hard-hitting work. Christie went on to work two years at BBH and eight years at TBWA, where he ran such accounts as Nissan and Cadbury and was promoted to client services director and eventually managing director. While at TBWA, the agency topped the new-business league and the awards tables and was Campaign’s runner-up agency of the year three years running. Christie began as managing director of W+K London in 2004, where he has since worked across the agency’s clients and within the agency to create an environment where people can do the best work of their lives.
About the appointment, Christie said, “I’m very proud. I hope I can live up to the honor.”
Mark Fitzloff came to W+K in 1999, working as a copywriter on the AltaVista, Nike and Coca-Cola accounts. When appointed creative director on Old Spice, Fitzloff was charged with reinvigorating “your grandfather’s deodorant.” Fitzloff helped breathe new life into the old, iconic American brand and, in doing so, helped create some of the best, most recognized work to come out of the Portland office in recent years.
In 2008, Fitzloff was appointed to the Portland management team as executive creative director and has since continued to lead work that both wins awards and pushes the client’s bottom line. For the past two years, Fitzloff and fellow Executive Creative Director Susan Hoffman were the most winning creative directors in Creativity’s Awards Report.
“It’s the best job there is in advertising,” said Fitzloff. “I’m extremely thankful to be working for a company I love.”
Iain Tait joined W+K as global interactive executive creative director in 2010. Prior to joining W+K, Tait was a founder and creative director at digital creative agency Poke, where he worked for such clients as American Express, Orange, Yahoo! and Zopa. In 2009, New Media Age magazine named Tait the year’s most influential person in new media in the UK. Tait demonstrated this influence upon starting at W+K, working on the Old Spice “Response Campaign” and forever changing the landscape of interactive advertising. He has since been included in the 2010 and 2011 Creativity 50, Ad Age’s 2010 25 Media Mavens and Fortune magazine’s 2010 40 Under 40. Tait is working to evolve W+K’s creative product and process, continuously looking for opportunities to combine great storytelling with the power and connectivity of the digital world.
Tait commented on his appointment, “It’s incredibly flattering to be invited to join the partner group. I’m hoping I can bring fresh perspective to the team and help continue to push the agency into new areas.”