NEW YORK: Makovsky has appointed former MSLGroup North America consumer practice director Denise Vitola to serve in the newly created role of MD.
Vitola, who joined the firm on September 21 after working at MSL since 2010, reports directly to Ken Makovsky, founder, president, and CEO of the eponymous agency.
"My main responsibility is managing the agency alongside [Makovsky], and that includes overseeing the practices, staffing, and agency operations," explained Vitola.
She said she will also help re-energize the technology practice and bring her consumer marketing expertise to the firm, with the potential of setting up a consumer practice in the future.
"[Vitola] has considerable experience in areas that we needed and the growth of the business has been such that I know there is need for additional leadership at the top," explained Makovsky.
In addition to her strong background in the areas of consumer, digital, financial, technology, and health, Makovsky said she stood out for the position because of her achievements at previous agencies. For example, while serving as deputy MD of MSL’s Atlanta office from 2013 to 2015, she increased revenue significantly, doubled staff to more than 50 people, and brought in five new accounts.
Creating the MD role will also allow Makovsky to spend more time on the strategic growth of the firm, as well as on sales development and client activity, he said.
When Vitola began thinking about leaving MSL, she said she only talked to mid-size agencies.
"It was really a conscious decision of mine," she said. "I really think mid-size is where clients are going to gravitate toward in the future because there is a clear differentiation in service."
She added that larger agencies have "a lot of red tape" that makes them move slower on client work or internal initiatives, such as setting up a new division.
Makovsky was also attractive to Vitola because she appreciated how invested the chief exec is in thought leadership, she said.
One of her goals at Makovsky is to focus on innovation for clients.
"While we’ve been talking about digital and social, those things are table stakes, just like content, creative, and strategy," she explained. "We have to move from there and start talking to our clients about innovation and how we’re going to develop services and ideas that are really going to deliver on their expectations."
Vitola joined MSLGroup in 2010 as personal care deputy practice director before being promoted to practice director for consumer health and personal care in 2012. From 2012 to February 2015, she served as deputy MD of the firm’s Atlanta office, and then she was promoted to her most recent role of North America consumer practice director.
"We thank Denise Vitola for all the contributions to our firm and wish her all the best on her new role," MSL said in a statement.
Prior to MSL, Vitola, one of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 honorees in 2012, spent five years at Ogilvy PR as SVP and deputy manager in the consumer marketing practice.
Before that, she worked at MWW, where she spearheaded the launch of Bank of America’s Keep the Change program in 2005.