One week after Erwin Penland co-founder and president Joe Erwin announced he will step down from his position and retire from the advertising industry at the end of the year, the agency announced that chief marketing officer/chief client officer Joe Saracino will take his place on Jan. 1.
Throughout his four years with Erwin Penland, Saracino has worked directly with Erwin, COO Allen Bosworth, CCO Con Williamson and chief planning officer Jessica Navas to reshape the agency and its headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina. Saracino hired Williamson and Navas in 2013 and 2014 as part of a four-year plan to accelerate growth by focusing on new business and speedier production schedules. During that time Erwin Penland has added L.L. Bean, The UPS Store, Disney XD and most recently Califia Farms to a client roster that also includes Denny's, CIT Bank and Verizon.
Prior to joining the agency as chief marketer in 2011, Saracino spent more than a decade as a marketing executive with the telecom giant, which has worked with Erwin Penland on the sponsorship and entertainment side of its business for some time. When Hill Holliday acquired Erwin Penland in 2004, the primary reason for the move was collaboration on the shared Verizon account.
That relationship has changed over the past year, with Verizon continuing its year-long agency consolidation process by sending much of the work that had been with Erwin Penland to fellow IPG activation shop Momentum Worldwide.
Regarding the promotion, Hill Holliday CEO Karen Kaplan said, "This succession plan has been rolling out over several years and I believe this final move will bring a fresh, new perspective to Erwin Penland leadership and their clients." She added, "I have tremendous confidence that Joe and the team will move our joint vision for Erwin Penland forward successfully."
"Being named Erwin Penland's new president is an honor," said Saracino. "In an industry that's constantly evolving, it makes sense for us to do the same. We have been and will continue to be focused on driving our offerings in the creative, digital, content and experiential spaces as we provide the toolbox our clients need to succeed."
The agency currently estimates that its new 125,000-square-foot office complex, which will "change [the] downtown skyline" in Greenville, will open in early 2017.