- Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017
- RICHMOND, Va.
Interpublic Group has named Kristen Cavallo to serve as CEO of The Martin Agency. She becomes the shop’s first female chief executive just a couple weeks following the departure of long-time staffer, chief creative officer Joe Alexander, after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against him. According to reports, Alexander has denied these allegations.
Cavallo is a member of the IPG family, having for the past seven years served as an executive leader at Mullen, then MullenLowe Group, most recently in the role of U.S. chief strategy and growth officer, where she oversaw strategy and helped manage business development for the agency’s four domestic offices. Prior to that role, Cavallo was president of Mullen’s headquarters office in Boston. Before joining Mullen, Cavallo spent 13 years at The Martin Agency, rising from strategic planning director to the role of sr. VP, business development, for the Richmond-based agency.
Cavallo is a long-standing champion of women’s issues. She was an inaugural board member of IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network in 2007. She has spoken on women’s issues at the 3% Conference, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and Hult International Business School. She is twice a winner of the Jay Chiat Award.
Alluding to Alexander’s departure from Martin, Cavallo stated, “This is an important moment. I want people to feel the possibilities that exist for this agency. They are talking about us, but soon I hope they are rooting for us. As a strategist, I love opportunities for transformation, and feel fortunate to play a part, with the full support of Interpublic and its leadership, to help re-write the ending of this chapter. Obviously, there is a need for a new direction, and the culture has to evolve. To be the first female CEO of this agency, in this year, under these circumstances--the weight of this isn’t lost on me. It’s going to be hard, but we can do hard things. As a mom, I want my kids to see that, and to set an example that resilience and possibility matter.”
As Interpublic completes its investigation regarding Alexander, leadership at The Martin will report directly to IPG.
Martin Roth, chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group, said, “The Martin Agency has established its place as a storied brand, serving great clients and producing some of the industry’s most awarded creative work. Kristen spent her formative years at the agency, so she knows how special a place it can be. She has also spent a number of years away from the agency, at one of the most progressive companies in the IPG portfolio, helping it develop its fully integrated offering, and grow into first a national presence, and more recently an international network. As a result, she brings with her a unique perspective and a fresh set of eyes that can inform The Martin Agency’s future. Kristen has been described as bringing stability and purpose to teams and organizations, even those on unstable ground. When she oversaw business development at The Martin Agency, the firm doubled in size and was named Agency of the Year by Adweek. At the helm of MullenLowe’s Boston operation, and then as the head of strategy and growth for their U.S. operations, she helped drive double-digit growth at that network. Kristen loves a challenge and we’re very happy she’s agreed to take on this key role in what has for many years been her home town.”