The Marketing Standard
Thu, 28 Oct 2021 14:34:29 GMT
Seattle’s fastest growing agency, DNA, is re-asserting its independence and elevating its leadership team following the most successful year in the 23-year-old agency’s history.
Alan Brown, co-founder and CEO, and Chris Witherspoon, president and chief growth officer, have purchased the majority of shares from co-founder and chairman Dan Gross. Gross will retain a stake in the company and continue to serve on its board.
“This transition is a true win-win,” said Dan Gross. “It allows Chris to take on more responsibility and ownership, and it will keep DNA independent for the foreseeable future. That’s become increasingly rare in our industry, but we’ve always believed that independent shops can be more responsive both to their people and their clients.”
As part of the move, Witherspoon will transition to CEO, with Brown taking on the role of chairman. Subsequently, DNA is now a minority-owned and led agency, with Chris Witherspoon becoming one of the few Black agency CEOs and Alan Brown as one of the few gay agency chairmen.
“Diversity and inclusion have always been a cornerstone of our culture, and I believe we are an industry leader in this regard,” said Alan Brown. Witherspoon serves as Board Chair of the BLAC Internship, a program developed by independent agencies to bring more Black people into the industry. He is also a founding Board member of 600 & Rising, an industry advocacy group. Brown is recognized as an Outstanding Voice for the LGBTQ+ community in the Pacific Northwest region, and he serves as outgoing Board Chair of StolenYouth, a Seattle organization that combats child sex trafficking with a focus on vulnerable communities.
“We have tremendous momentum that is fueling the success of our clients and, in turn, the agency,” said Chris Witherspoon. “We are like the brands we serve – we are ambitious and want to have an impact on our industry. Dan and Alan have built a business and culture where people can do the best work of their career. With so much amazing talent in place, I am excited to expand and further grow DNA’s offering and ability to do big things for big brands.”
DNA has racked up a series of awards over the past year in recognition of its work, its people and its growth. The agency was recently named one of the fastest growing companies in the Northwest by the Puget Sound Business Journal. It was named a Small Agency of the Year by AdAge, and Witherspoon was named to Campaign’s 40 Over 40 List.