Digital ace Ritesh Patel lands at Finn Partners

The three senior-level hires also include another Ogilvy vet to lead Finn’s DC health group and a Grey creative vet whose remit covers health.

L-R: Richard Hatzfeld, Ritesh Patel, Pepe Aguilar
L-R: Richard Hatzfeld, Ritesh Patel, Pepe Aguilar

Ritesh Patel, who left Ogilvy Consulting last month, has landed at Finn Partners as the firm's new global digital health lead.

The digital transformation ace was one of three senior-level hires, which also included fellow Ogilvy vet Richard Hatzfeld and Grey creative exec Pepe Aguilar.

All three said they were drawn by a culture which, in Patel's case, meant a taste for curiosity and entrepreneurship. That focus sharpened when Finn bought two tech-focused PR shops in as many months, Barokas Communications in July and Agency Ten22 the month prior.

"I'm big on, 'How does digital and tech impact health, and how do we use these things to make lives better?'" said Patel, who was chief digital officer for health at Ogilvy Consulting before resigning as part of a wave of change in the wake of Ogilvy Worldwide CEO John Seifert's departure more than a year ago. "I saw like-minded folks here who want to do the same things I envision."

He found a kindred spirit in Finn's global health chair, Gil Bashe, who was similarly recognized by MM+M in 2017 for their work with startups. The two will work closely together, although Patel reports to Noah Finn, founding managing partner in charge of global integrated marketing.

Aguilar, formerly chief creative officer of Grey Wing New York and before that other Grey outposts across Latin America, said he wanted to come to an agency that understood the potential for health communications to expand on the larger narrative of living well. "I would not work anywhere I could not see a sense of purpose," he added. Based in Finn's New York office, he reports to Matt Bostrom, managing partner.

"It used to be that heath communications was saying the attributes of x or y medicine or solution, but it's not that way anymore," said Aguilar, whose list of palmares includes two creative Lions, one in pharma and the other in health/wellness. "It's about the lifestyle and how you can engage with tech and create better lives. Many brands that are not so healthcare-related are stepping in."

Hatzfeld, a five-year Ogilvy vet and former global team lead supervising multinational vaccine communication efforts, cited another confluence: the one between public health and multiple other sectors.

"People are understanding that public health investments matter and are not just the domain of the healthcare sector. It could be in transportation or IT," explained Hatzfeld, who earlier in his career oversaw communications for vaccine development and advocacy at the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

Finn Partners, he added, understood "that there's horizontal power to health that cuts across sectors."

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