SAN FRANCISCO: Cohn & Wolfe has brought on Mischa Dunton, previously deputy MD and SVP at APCO Worldwide, to serve as MD of the agency's San Francisco office.
After starting in the new role on Monday, Dunton is reporting directly to Jim Joseph, president of North America at C&W. She has succeeded Anna Cahill Leonard, former president of the agency's San Francisco office and global technology practice leader, who left the firm at the end of 2012.
Dunton will not take on the global technology responsibility at Cohn & Wolfe. Joseph said she will focus on growing the firm in the San Francisco market, and the agency's technology practice is covered in other ways without a global leader.
In addition to handling day-to-day operations in San Francisco, Dunton will work on employee-facing efforts, client relations, and business development. She is also serving as a senior counselor for the firm's West Coast accounts, such as Panasonic, Ubisoft, and Nokia.
“What I really needed was somebody who had a mix of really strong consumer marketing and communications skills on the consumer side, but also understood technology and digital and had some corporate communications experience,” said Joseph.
He added that Dunton has the “perfect mix of talent” for the role, as well as the ability to lead a senior-level team of about 20 in San Francisco.
One primary goal is to raise Cohn & Wolfe's profile in the region, said Joseph.
Technology will continue to be a major focus for the San Francisco office, but Joseph said the agency wants to broaden its spectrum in terms of clients, especially as C&W grows its consumer marketing and healthcare practices on the West Coast.
During her time at APCO, Dunton worked with a number of large clients, such as Red Bull, Gap, PayPal, and Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In organization. She joined APCO in 2010 as a VP and a founding member of the agency's San Francisco office.
Prior to APCO, she was a senior PR manager at LeapFrog Enterprises.
APCO is evaluating the need and its options to fill Dunton's role, according to an agency representative.
This story was updated on January 8 with comment from APCO Worldwide.