Grey Expands West Coast Operations, Brings on Brazilian Vet to Lead Creative in L.A. and San Francisco

Rodrigo Jatene moves stateside after 4 years

Jatene's work brought home 15 Lions at this year's Cannes Festival. - Credit by Grey
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WPP’s Grey has moved to trendy Venice, Calif. and brought a big Cannes winner along for the ride.

Today worldwide CCO John Patroulis announced that Rodrigo Jatene, who led Grey Brazil as co-president and creative chief for the past four years, has relocated to head up the agency’s West division in L.A. and San Francisco in the newly created CCO role.

In that endeavor, Jatene will partner with Grey West president Alex Morrison while working with a client roster that currently includes Nestlé, Fitbit, Hasbro, Amazon and FX Networks, among others.

Grey was one of four agencies to win new business in the recently concluded Nestlé USA creative review. And while the company previously had an L.A. presence, the lease on its new Venice location started this month.

“Rodrigo has been leading some of the most compelling work in the world recently, with technology and a careful humanity at the core of everything he does,” read a statement from Patroulius, who called the incoming CCO “perfect for Grey West.”

The news comes one month after Grey Brazil won big at Cannes, bringing home a Mobile Grand Prix and another Gold Lion for its “Corruption Detector,” an app using facial recognition technology to call out Brazil’s dirtiest politicians. Overall, Jatene’s work brought home 15 Lions.

“I thought it was time for a new adventure,” Jatene told Adweek. “I want to expand the boundaries of what we can do, and I think there’s no better place than the West Coast,” he said, noting the influence of the entertainment, film and technology industries on both the agency business and culture at large.

Jatene also noted that he began his career as a designer working in digital advertising “when it was not a big thing,” stating that he, like so many in the industry, aims to “find new ways to make things that really matter to people” outside the traditional marketing framework.

According to Morrison, Jatene’s reputation preceded him. “It’s very easy to be a wild man coming up with creativity for its own sake. The real art is channeling it to transform business,” he said. Morrison also told Adweek that he sees Grey West as “a new way forward for our agency,” or a testing ground to “pilot new ways of working.” This approach unsurprisingly includes “embracing a more fluid, project-based model.”

And while Morrison acknowledged that the West Coast operation has “had a long up and down history,” he believes the small but growing team has reached a more stable place with the ultimate goal of becoming “that agency people talk about.”

Only time will tell.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.