McGarryBowen hires Matt Ian as creative lead for flagship office

The industry veteran completes the leadership team for McGarryBowen New York.

Left to right, Matt Ian, Chief Creative Officer; Angela Johnson, President; Conner Huber, Chief Strategy Officer.
Left to right, Matt Ian, Chief Creative Officer; Angela Johnson, President; Conner Huber, Chief Strategy Officer.

Matt Ian, previously executive creative director at Droga5, is joining McGarryBowen as chief creative officer of the New York flagship, marking the completion of the office’s leadership team.

Ian, who was at Droga5 since 2015, will start in mid-September and report to McGarryBowen U.S. Chief Creative Officer Ned Crowley. 

"In the three plus years he was at Droga5, Matt applied his amazing experience, energy and creative leadership to a range of wide business. We’ll miss him and wish him all the best on this new chapter," said Neil Heymann, chief creative officer of Droga5, via email. 

The New York CCO role at McGarryBowen has been vacant since Matthew Bull stepped down from the post last summer. With Ian’s appointment, the leadership of the Dentsu Aegis Network’s New York office includes President Angela Johnson, who joined from WPP earlier this year, and Chief Strategy Officer Conner Huber, who came onboard about a year ago, having previously worked at shops like Wieden & Kennedy and CP+B.

"Great work comes from great partnership across creative, strategy and business. Very happy to complete the New York leadership trio. Excited to see Matt, Conner and Angela lead the agency," said U.S. President Pat Lafferty, who joined McGarryBowen from Translation two months ago.  

Ian told Campaign that he was attracted to McGarryBowen for a number of reasons, including its talent mix of "seasoned vets and killer newcomers" and energy.

"A lot of times as a management team, it’s one way or the other: You’re either coming into a situation with all the vets, and in that case, it’s them doing things the way they have been and you fall in line, or the latter is that everything is changing and you’re part of that flux and it can be messy," said Ian. "I like the fact that I’m coming in at a manageable and exciting time and it’s not a rescue mission - they’re in a position of strength with great new hires and momentum."


He added that he’s looking forward to helping the agency propel to the next chapter. Some of the clients Ian will be working on at McGarryBowen include Subway, United Airlines, Verizon, Crayola, Chevron and Northrop Grumman.

Ian’s three-month plan is to look at potential opportunities with every client, learn the personalities of everyone in the creative department and explore new business possibilities. "Pitches are great ways to get to know everyone in a compressed time," he said.

Throughout his career, Ian has worked with advertising legends, such as Droga5’s David Droga, BBH Founder John Hegarty and TBWA’s Lee Clow.

"All of these people have an incredible sixth sense for spotting an opportunity. When I was going into this job - and I had a lot of conversations with different places - what I’d like to think happened is that I learned from these people how to spot an opportunity and right now at McGarryBowen is a huge opportunity and I’m incredibly fortunate," said Ian.

Prior to Droga, Ian was an ECD at TBWA\Chiat\Day. He also worked at CP+B, Deutsch and BBH, where he spent the majority of his career.

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