Judy John joins Edelman as its first global CCO

The agency's CEO says the hire will help to further its creative ambitions.

Shortly after Leo Burnett Canada announced changes to its leadership team and the pending departure of Judy John, Edelman revealed that it had hired the agency’s award-winning creative leader as its first global chief creative officer.

John will continue to be based in Toronto, but will be responsible for the entirety of Edelman’s creative network – which is now comprised of over 600 creatives and strategists globally – and will report directly to president and CEO Richard Edelman. Her first day is April 29.

In a blog post on the agency website, Richard Edelman wrote that John’s hiring is partially because the agency needs to “make the case for Edelman as the lead creative partner when a brand or business wants to disrupt the market by taking a stand.” This comes after years of implementing an “earned creative” strategy that bolstered its PR efforts – still the bulk of its business – by encouraging clients to take a stand with creative ideas that fared well on social and kept up with the news cycle. Edelman has been the creative lead on projects for clients including Dove, HP, ASICS, Adobe and retailer REI for its award-winning “#OptOutside” campaign.

Edelman has also spent the past several years bolstering its creative leadership to put that strategy into place.

It hired Andrew Simon as ECD for the Canadian market in 2015, elevating him to a CCO role a year later (it had previously hired Jordan Doucette as ECD in 2014, though she returned to creative agency Taxi after less than a year). Elsewhere, it acquired Stockholm-based agency Deportivo in 2014 to be the “creative hub” for the agency across Europe and keeping founder Stefan Ronge on as CCO for the region. In 2016, it named Jimmie Stone CCO for its New York office after four years as its ECD.

Edelman cited work like Always’ multi-award winning “#LikeAGirl” campaign, IKEA’s “Cook This Page,” Amazon’s first Super Bowl commercial and Samsung’s first global Olympic campaign as efforts led by John that both caught his attention and made her a fit for the agency’s creative approach.