Hunter restructures leadership team

The Stagwell firm names Gigi García Russo (pictured) as chief innovation and growth officer.

Hunter restructures leadership team

NEW YORK: Hunter has restructured and expanded its leadership team, creating new roles and making several promotions. 

The firm created the position of chief innovation and growth officer, promoting Gigi García Russo from partner to the new role, reporting to CEO Grace Leong. 

García Russo noted that Hunter’s headcount has grown from 160 to 200 staffers in the last year, and the restructuring is part of its strategy to continue growing. 

“We knew we had to make some changes that would motivate our staff but also help us service our clients’ existing needs,” said García Russo. “We are approaching things a lot more integrated and working as a full-service agency even more-so.”

García Russo will help the firm’s practice leaders enhance their services and offerings to new and existing clients, particularly those looking to connect with multicultural audiences. She will also lead diversity and inclusion efforts at the agency and drive the integration of the expertise of the agency’s creative services team, which includes creative directors, content creators, graphic and digital media designers, programmers, illustrators, photographers, copywriters and video producers and editors.

García Russo was previously a partner. She founded the firm’s multicultural practice and built the agency’s wine, retail, tech and fashion practices from single brands into multi-client business units, the firm said in a statement. The agency has sunsetted “partner” as a title; the changes were formalized in late July.

“I still will oversee those businesses, but now there are two MDs who are working under me covering retail, tech, fashion and wine,” said García Russo. “Because of client relationships, I am still involved.”

The firm has also named Daniela Acosta to the newly created position of diversity, equity and inclusion manager, reporting to García Russo. It has also named Samara Farber Mormar as the agency’s first chief marketing officer, working alongside García Russo on driving the growth, client experience and reputation of the agency. Mormar, who was previously executive vice president of strategy and partnership, will continue in her role of matching prospective clients with teams and sharing Hunter’s story and capabilities.  

The agency has also named Jon Lyon as chief operating officer. Lyon, one of Hunter’s founding partners, will oversee business operations and finance, specialized services including entertainment, media, digital and the insights and analytics function. He will also have oversight of the London and Los Angeles offices. 

Daisy Pack has been hired to oversee Hunter’s U.K. practice as MD of Hunter: London.

The firm has also upped Julie Sternberg, Alex Conway, Jennifer Mestayer, Dominic Benigno, Blair Baumwell, Melissa Rooney, Elizabeth Mitolo and Becky Brand to managing director. Other promotions include Donetta Allen as the agency’s first chief influencer and social media officer; Michael Lamp as chief digital and social media officer; Alice Turner as senior creative director of content and experiences; and Samantha Turtle as chief entertainment and media officer. Turtle will also lead the expansion and day-to-day operations of Hunter: Los Angeles. Heddy DeMaria will continue to serve as the agency’s chief insights officer with strategy added to her title.

Founded in 1989, Hunter is a consumer marketing communications firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and London and a part of Stagwell. Hunter grew more than 30% in 2020, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2021, and the agency said it continues to record double-digit growth from legacy clients and new business wins this year. Its clients include Diageo, Johnson & Johnson, Church & Dwight, Smithfield, the Wine Group, 3M Amazon, MilkPep, Sub-Zero Group and Abbott Diagnostics.

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