Zulu promotes Mike Sutton to CEO

The promotion is the last piece of an internal plan to appoint and empower new agency leadership over the next decade.

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Zulu Alpha Kilo has promoted longtime president and partner Mike Sutton to the role of CEO as the latest step in its “re-engineering” plan.

Sutton, who will also remain president of the agency, will “have even more responsibility for the day-to-day operational side of the business,” says Zak Mroueh, Zulu’s CCO and founder. “For the past couple of years, he’s already been playing much of the CEO role, so this appointment was a natural progression.”

As CEO, Sutton will continue to work side-by-side with Mroueh on new business, managing clients and expanding the agency’s footprint into new markets.

Sutton’s promotion was “the next and final piece of the puzzle” in a leadership plan that began in 2019, Mroueh says.

“As the decade was coming to a close, I started thinking about what Zulu would look like a decade into the future,” he says. “The re-engineering plan was all about putting the right leadership in place and empowering it. It was about building the next generation of talent.”

As part of the plan, the agency promoted eight of its employees to new leadership roles last month. It also added Brian Murray as its new ECD.

Mroueh, who had served as CEO since founding the agency 13 years ago, says he made the appointment because he’d “been wearing too many hats for too long.”

“There wasn’t enough time for me to think big picture about the agency and the future,” he explains, adding that he will now be able to “focus on the things I love to do, which is elevating our creative product and dreaming up innovations for the business.”

Sutton joined Zulu as managing director in 2010 and has played a key role since, helping it establish itself as a leading independent agency. In 2012, he was made a partner in the business and in 2013 was promoted to president.

Sutton started his career at Henderson Bas, where he led strategic development on digital initiatives for Molson and Coca-Cola. In 2005, he joined Grip Limited and helped develop its digital capabilities, working with a roster of brands that included Honda, Budweiser, Kokanee, Expedia and Johnson & Johnson.