Photo, left to right: Emily Portnoy, Erica Yahr, Jaime Winner
McCann New York today has named Erica Yahr as the agency’s chief strategy officer. Yahr, who first joined McCann in 1996, has most recently served as the EVP, executive strategy director of McCann Health in New York.
As an expansion of its strategic capabilities, McCann New York also announced the hiring of Emily Portnoy as EVP, head of brand strategy, and Jaime Winner as senior VP, head of social & digital strategy.
“I have known and admired Erica since she and I first began working in McCann New York’s strategy department at about the same time” said Devika Bulchandani, president of McCann New York. “In the many recent instances where McCann and McCann Health have worked closely together on consumer healthcare brands, she has brought her considerable strategic skills to bear. I am delighted that she can now play a leading strategic role on all of our clients’ brands, especially at this time when we are expanding our capabilities with Emily and Jaime joining in key roles.”
Yahr first joined McCann New York 23 years ago in an agency brand consultancy unit called the 14th floor, and then began working across the full range of technology/ telecom, personal care, and consumer package goods accounts in the agency’s New York strategy department. After rising to become EVP, strategic planning director, she moved to a similar position at McCann HumanCare, McCann Health’s consumer health and wellness division, and then assumed a similar role for McCann Health New York overall. She holds an M.S. in Statistics and Operations Research as well as an M.S. in Teaching Mathematics, concurrently spending two years teaching high school math in the Teach For America programme.
Suzanne Powers, global chief strategy officer at McCann Worldgroup, said: “I’m very pleased that Erica will be taking on the strategic leadership position of McCann New York. Obviously this is one of our most important offices, and Erica’s breadth and depth of experience is perfectly suited to the role. Erica is one of our strongest strategic minds, in her own right, plus she has helped build a culture and strong team steeped in our shared strategic approach. She will drive the focus of our teams and work to help our clients’ brands play meaningful roles in people’s lives.”
Emily Portnoy joins McCann from the Grey Group, where she had worked for the last 14 years, most recently as executive strategy director. At Grey, she helped formalise the partnership between traditional and data strategy, including the implementation of a new approach to consumer journeys that has successfully opened new ways for clients to see their business through the lens of culture and behaviour.
Jaime Winner had been at Wunderman Thompson, where she had worked at the Wunderman-side agency for the last five years as a group strategy director focusing on bringing data and creativity to the forefront of planning. She had previously worked as an associate director, brand planning & digital strategy, at mcgarrybowen.
These promotions follow the recent new business wins in the U.S. for clients including ADT and Annovera as well as recognition over the last four years on AdAge’s Agency A-List (2016-2019) and as Adweek’s Most Innovative Agency (Project Isaac awards, 2016 & 2018). Additionally, the agency was recognized by the Effie Index as the most effective in North America and McCann New York in particular was named effectiveness Agency of the Year and was the winner of the Grand Effie for the region as well.