Case Study | Ad Agency President Executive Search
March 28, 2021
by Krista Bradford

Case Study of Executive Search for Ad Agency President



Case Study Scenario

An executive search research case study of an Ad Agency President Executive Search: Our client, one of the leading marketing communications agencies in the world, needed to find a President to lead their digital marketing team based in Detroit, Michigan, a Rust Belt city under significant economic duress with the highest foreclosure rate in the Nation. Moreover, the ideal executive had to be capable of managing a team of more than 200 professionals, as well as spearheading the digital marketing initiatives for one of our client’s most important accounts. The executive had to be capable of providing the agency’s largest Detroit client with the vision needed to turn their struggling business around – a U.S. automaker that, much like the industry, has seen its sales get hammered by the tough economy.


The Challenge

It was far easier to entice most top executives to move away from Detroit than to commit to packing up and making the Motor City their family’s new home.


Actionable Intelligence

Intellerati uncovered a critical piece of intelligence from several candidates: we learned of a great digital marketing firm under duress. The firm was experiencing significant growing pains at its offices across the country. As a result, the company’s executives felt overworked and unappreciated, assigned too many client accounts as the firm scaled in size without the necessary manpower. Executives there told us that they didn’t feel they had the opportunity to make a real difference for their clients because they lacked the time and resources. In other words, it wouldn’t take much to convince one of their executives to leave. Intellerati then applied a cultural filter asking, “Which executives from the target company might be more willing to make a move to Detroit?” As we examined the backgrounds of executives working at the newly prioritized target company, we found our answer – an ad executive who grew up in a similar industrial city: Buffalo, New York.


The Results

The Winning Candidate in Just 16 Business Days.  In just four weeks, Intellerati developed six screened, qualified and interested candidates for the President role, one of whom was subsequently hired into an alternative role at no additional cost to the client. In addition, Intellerati delivered comprehensive research profiling 130 executives in the digital marketing space, which our client could leverage to build out their internal search function.


Performance Metrics

  • 2 Business Days: Target candidate profiles
  • 5 Business Days: First candidate Presented
  • 16 business Days: Presented winning candidate hired as President
  • Bonus Hire: 2nd hire at no additional cost of strong successor to President
  • Bonus Research: 130 Senior Executives Profiles


Presidential ROI: $30 Million+

  • Selected to lead team that saved $25 million luxury automotive account. Created innovative marketing ideas and effectively pitched ideas to executive management.
  • Delivered 2-year, $30 million project for a leading US automaker on-time and within budget. Project heralded as key contributing factor in the company’s turnaround and profit growth during tough economic climate.
  • Implemented new Delivery Services department responsible for taking agency’s net profitability from 15% to 22%+ during a 2-year period and delivering $8+ million in new service-line revenue (Social CRM).
  • After 3 years as Ad Agency President, promoted to Country President where his successes continue.


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