Sharon Napier is passing the torch.
After 15 years leading the agency she founded as CEO, she will step into a chair role as president Courtney Cotrupe takes over as chief executive. Napier will continue to play an active role at the agency, with a focus on growth and talent initiatives, while also devoting time to industry activities including serving as vice chair of the 4A’s. She will also continue to serve on parent company Project Worldwide’s global strategic leadership team.
According to a statement, the move follows the agency growing by 29% in 2018 to reach gross revenue of $30 million. Over the past 12 months, the agency has also added clients including Instant Pot, Pyrex, Rakuten and The Strong National Museum of Play.
Cotrupe has been a partner at the agency for 15 years and stepped into the president role two years ago after nearly five years as managing director. As president she launched Partners + Napier’s media division, which is its highest growth area, as well as built up its content, social media, PR, digital and analytics capabilities.
“I am extremely proud to take on the role of CEO,” Cotrupe said in a statement. “Sharon started this agency with a fundamental belief that business is personal, and that’s been the foundation of our success. Now, [CCO] Rob [Kottkamp] and I have the incredible opportunity to further evolve and grow the agency in a way that champions our agency’s values and meets the dynamic needs of our clients.”
Cotrupe recruited Kottkamp from the Boston office of MullenLowe to serve as her creative partner and the agency’s chief creative.
“Growth always brings change—good change. Courtney has been by my side every step of this journey, and now is the time to take what we’ve built and position the agency for more success,” Napier said in a statement. “Courtney has the vision, ideas and smarts to lead the agency we’ve become, and Rob is her perfect complement. Together, they’ll take us to new heights.”
She continued that Kottkamp is “the puzzle piece we’ve been looking for,” adding, “He leads and inspires by doing, and I can already see his chemistry with the team is something special.”
“Partners + Napier is results-driven, it’s insight-driven and it’s data-driven—but great creative ideas are at its core. That’s why I’m here,” added Kottkamp. “My favorite part about this business is the process of bringing an idea to life and making something out of nothing. It’s even better when you get to do it alongside good humans, who share that simple desire to do great work. I see that in Partners + Napier, and I’m excited to be part of it.”
Kottkamp spent six years with MullenLowe, serving as creative director and group creative director across clients including Google Cloud, Royal Caribbean and U.S. Cellular. Before that he spent five years at Arnold, where he worked with clients including Santander Bank, Volvo and Timberland. His work has received awards from Cannes and D&AD, among others, and two of his campaigns are housed in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.