FCB North America CEO Tyler Turnbull announced today that Karin Onsager-Birch and Simon White have been promoted to co-presidents, running the network’s West Coast operations. Onsager-Birch and White previously held the positions of chief creative officer and chief strategy officer, respectively, and their new duties will still include those responsibilities.
“Based on the remarkable work Karin and Simon have done during their tenure running creative and strategy, it was a natural choice to elevate them to lead our San Francisco office,” said Turnbull. “Both are incredible, world-class talents who have already contributed greatly to our success by delivering best-in-class, behaviour-changing solutions for our clients. Promoting them to co-presidents will propel the agency to the next level.”
Onsager-Birch joined FCB West as chief creative officer in 2015. One thing she immediately realised was that an important part of the turnaround of the office would be to have strategy and creative intertwined. At the time, White was at FCB Inferno in London, where his strategic acumen had significantly contributed to their success, and he was not thinking of making a change. Then the two met, and not only did they click, but they knew that their partnership would be the deep and creative collaboration that has made them so effective.
Despite being very different people, each has a genuine appreciation for what the other brings to the creative process, and that has enabled their success. They won their first pitch together, winning back the iconic Clorox brand, and revitalised the San Francisco office’s creative product with their own unique combination of cognitive science and creativity. Together, they have gone on to win numerous clients, including Dockers and Hotwire. Their work has been awarded by Cannes Lions, The One Show, D&AD, Clios, Facebook Creative Studios, The New York Art Director Show, The Effies and the Library of Congress, to name a few. Their standout creative work also consistently delivers business results, like returning the Levi’s brand to growth and prominence in pop culture.
The duo succeeds former CEO Joe Oh, who has moved into an advisory role as global EVP, partnering with FCB global head of innovation Kris Hoet and working with IPG’s new technology business unit, Kinesso.
With a legacy spanning over 90 years in San Francisco, FCB West has been the epicentre of creativity in the U.S. since the agency was established in 1924. Founded on a culture of innovative firsts, the California agency is known for introducing the much-loved California Raisins and the first broadcast commercial as we know it today. It also works with some of the world’s most iconic brands for blue-chip clients like Levi’s, Clorox and Smokey Bear – currently the agency’s longest-held client at 75 years.
Onsager-Birch’s and White’s appointments continue to fuel FCB’s exciting momentum in 2020, as the network was named a 'Best Place to Work' by Ad Age and announced its Mike’s Hard win. FCB most recently elevated Gabriel Schmitt to co-chief creative officer of its New York office and Kerry Hill to North American director of integrated production, and took home the Number One Most Awarded Campaign in the World on WARC’s Creative 100 for Burger King’s 'The Whopper Detour.'