CHICAGO (July 12, 2013)---Cramer-Krasselt, the second largest independent marketing and communications firm in the U.S. with just over $1 billion in billings, has elevated two of its top executives responsible for much of C-K’s growth since 2006.
Marshall Ross, EVP and Chief Creative Officer, has been named Vice Chairman/CCO. Karen Seamen, EVP and Chief Operations Officer, assumes the title of President/COO. The firm’s current President and CEO, Peter Krivkovich, will become Chairman/CEO after holding the President title for 25 years. While no timeline has been set for Krivkovich’s retirement, the move cements a succession plan for the agency, establishing Seamen and Ross as the agency’s future management team.
“It was when Karen and Marshall teamed up in 2006 that the transformation of C-K began in earnest—from a classic ad agency with four fairly distinct offices, into a fully-integrated marketing communications firm with a single point of view, shared resources, identical strategic processes, and a specific philosophy for achieving results,” said Krivkovich.
Under their leadership, the agency’s billings have grown over 60% since 2006, driven by rapidly expanding investments in engagement, social, analytics, planning, SEO/SEM and numerous data and support systems. Digital alone now accounts for nearly 40% of C-K’s revenue and climbing.
As a result, C-K has attracted an enviable client roster, including: Porsche, Cedar Fair, all U.S. Heinz brands, Patrón, Panera Bread, Johnsonville, Vitamix and Edward Jones to name a few.
Said Krivkovich: “Together, Karen and Marshall have insisted on and refined beliefs, systems and philosophies across the network that have transformed C-K, consistently led to insights that change the category conversation, affected consumer behavior and resulted in the kind of creative work that garners both press and awards, such as the three EFFIEs—two Gold and one Bronze—that C-K won a few weeks ago. They have devoted much to C-K and will continue helping me make this agency unique in its ability to grow and invest for the long term at a time when most agencies can’t.”
Throughout her 25-year career with C-K, Seamen has played an increasing key role in both building and evolving that “no silo” model of integration spanning advertising, media, digital, engagement strategy, CRM, PR, SEO/SEO and analytics, as well as proprietary organizational systems that support it. Named EVP, General Manager of the Chicago headquarters office in 2006 and COO in 2010, she has been a driving force in helping reorganize the agency’s four-office network and build a distinct new business identity for C-K. Named an Ad Age and Crain’s Chicago Business “Women to Watch,” Karen sits on the 4A’s National Board of Directors, as well as the Boards of the Chicago Advertising Federation and several other association and cultural institutions.
Ross joined C-K in 1995 as Executive Creative Director of the Chicago office and was named the agency’s first Chief Creative Officer in 2006. Along the way, he has steered the agency to national and international recognition; elevating the firm’s creative product by nurturing cross-platform creativity and grounding it in compelling, business-building insights. The results have been both memorable and effective: from CareerBuilder’s “Monk-e-Mail” viral sensation, to helping Corona fans “Find Your Beach” online, offline or wherever they find themselves, to helping people pay it forward with Panera’s Facebook “Food Chain Reaction,” to enlisting passionate Porsche-philes to create new relevance for revered icon with the “ Engineered for Magic. Every day.” campaign.
Krivkovich joined C-K in 1981 when he sold his small Chicago-based creative boutique to the agency. Starting out as head of the Chicago office of C-K, he was promoted to President of the company in 1987 and assumed the additional title of CEO in 1998. Born in Europe, Peter speaks fluent Russian and retains that fiery spirit and sense of determination to help clients bury their competition. That, and a very specific vision on what drives results and success has raised C-K from a small regional to one of the largest independents in the country, and increasingly a digital force as well.
At C-K, our mission is simple: Make friends, not ads.® It’s how we helped Corona surpass Heineken as the number one imported beer; drove Porsche to make 2012 the best sales year since 1986 and 35% ahead of that already in 2013; made Johnsonville Sausage sizzle with 6.5% growth amidst a category decline; and bumped Panera Bread’s website visits more than 300% with the launch of a new campaign. Our friend-making mindset not only drives our ideas, it also drives our structure. We‘re built without silos or competing interests to truly tap into an ever-expanding range of disciplines, from advertising to SEM/SEO to social to analytics-whatever it takes to create compelling brand experiences. This philosophy has fueled our growth, making C-K the nation’s second largest independent ad agency and placing us among the top 20 advertising and digital firms in the country with more than 500 employees and $1 billion in annual billings. Headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York, Milwaukee and Phoenix, we represent major brands across virtually every industry, including: BRP (Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo, Evinrude), Cedar Fair Amusement Parks (Cedar Point, Knotts’ Berry Farm and 10 others), Corona Extra, Edward Jones, Heinz (Ketchup, Smart Ones, Classico, Ore-Ida, Steam n’ Mash), Johnsonville Sausage, Panera Bread, Porsche, Spice Islands and Vitamix. For more information, visit Cramer-Krasselt at www.c-k.com.