Ruder Finn appoints Zapata to lead West Coast expansion

SAN FRANCISCO: Ruder Finn has hired former Ogilvy executive Dushka Zapata as MD of the West Coast, a new role at the agency.

SAN FRANCISCO: Ruder Finn has hired former Ogilvy executive Dushka Zapata as MD of the West Coast, a new role at the agency.

Zapata, who started in the role November 5, is helping to establish a San Francisco office and rebuild the firm's West Coast presence. She is responsible for hiring staff, new business development, and overseeing client work. She reports to Ruder Finn CEO Kathy Bloomgarden.

Ruder Finn West will focus on the agency's key business areas: health and wellness, technology and innovation, corporate positioning, and consumer and lifestyle brands.

“This gives us a good opportunity to build something that's exactly what clients are requesting and needing,” Zapata said.

Ruder Finn spun off its West Coast operations with Finn Partners when Ruder Finn split in two last December. Since then, the firm has not had a physical office on the West Coast but has still worked with clients there, Bloomgarden explained. 

“We decided to spin off our West Coast operations [in 2011] because we wanted to develop another kind of offering that focused on our key variables, including creative services,” Bloomgarden said.

Zapata was most recently EVP and head of the San Francisco office at Ogilvy & Mather, where she oversaw PR, advertising, and digital. She joined Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in 2005 as an SVP, and the agency elevated her role in 2010 to lead the San Francisco branch and integrate its PR and advertising functions.

Prior to that, Zapata served as an EVP at Edelman for more than 10 years. While there, she was deputy GM of the firm's Silicon Valley branch and also worked as a director in the Mexico office for more than three years.

“[Zapata] has the exact priorities we look for in people. She's creative, thinks outside the box, and is a good listener. She's able to quickly understand what clients need while using a creative approach to solving a problem,” Bloomgarden said, adding that she had been talking with Zapata about working at the firm “for months and months.”

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