Arnold’s New Creative Lead Makes First Key Hire as Agency Looks to Make a Comeback

ECD Fred Saldanha joins the team from Huge

Saldanha will lead the agency's Barclay's, PUR and Kaplan University accounts.

In one of the first key hires from U.S. Chief Creative Officer Icaro Doria since arriving at the agency in August, Arnold Worldwide welcomed Fred Saldanha as executive creative director.

“Fred’s entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm for forward-thinking creative campaigns aligns perfectly with the direction we’re taking the Arnold business,” Doria said in a statement.

Stating that he “loves” the agency’s brand-building legacy, Saldanha said of joining Arnold: “I’m really excited to be part of the team … there’s so much talent here.”

Saldanha relocated from New York to work out of Arnold’s Boston headquarters and will lead the agency’s Barclay’s, PUR and Kaplan University accounts; the work he’s been leading is expected to launch in the next few months.

Saldanha spent the past two years as an executive creative director with digital agency Huge, where he worked with clients including Google, AB InBev, NBC, Nokia and Fiat Chrysler. He was also part of the team that worked on Huge’s first Super Bowl campaign for Quicken Loans, which Saldanha cited as a particular highlight of his time at the agency.

Prior to joining Huge, he spent time as a CCO for Isobar in São Paulo and New York. He also served as a creative director and executive creative director with Ogilvy Brasil and has spent time with agencies including W+K London, DM9DDB and Grey’s Lisbon, Portugal office. Earlier in his career, Saldanha co-founded an agency called Edson Comunicação in Portugal.

“Fred is someone I’ve watched for years,” Doria told Adweek. “An industry veteran, Fred co-founded a successful agency which quickly became a creative reference in Lisbon, Portugal. He is my first key creative hire and brings a diverse mix of international experience to our creative team to ensure we continue to evolve and deliver standout creative.”

Saldanha said he hopes to bring his digital experience to Arnold to help build brands in a relevant way, calling Doria “a natural leader.”

“I think it’s very healthy when you have a creative department with a lot of points of view, different angles. I love when we have these different points of view, because it allows us to tell new stories,” Saldanha told Adweek. “I think Icaro is building that here—he’s bringing people from all over the world, and I love that we sit at the table and have these different experiences, and somehow, we find an idea that connects with everyone.”

“Fred is a key hire for us,” Doria added. “We have a couple of other senior creative positions that we’ll look to fill in the next six months or so, which we’ll make with the same level of intention with which we made this one.”

Saldanha’s arrival follows series of layoffs across Arnold’s Boston and New York offices in December, after parting ways with longtime clients Carnival last May and Hershey in August.

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.