The Martin Agency names first female chief creative officer

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Costello photo courtesy The Martin Agency.

Richmond-based The Martin Agency said Friday it has named Karen Costello as its first female chief creative officer.

The advertising agency has made several leadership changes after the December departure of former CCO Joe Alexander following sexual harassment allegations. Costello and Jerry Hoak took interim lead creative roles following Alexander’s departure. That month, the agency also tapped Kristen Cavallo as its first female CEO, who replaced Matt Williams.

“This isn’t overcorrection or an optics play. This is earned. This is preparation. This is opportunity, grabbed. I’m so excited for what’s ahead, I can’t stop grinning,” Cavallo said in a news release about Costello’s appointment. 

Costello joined Martin in mid-2017 as executive creative director in charge of the agency’s Mondelēz account, which includes brands such as Oreo, Ritz and Chips Ahoy. She will continue to lead that account as well as the agency’s overall creative efforts.

In addition to Costello’s new role, Hoak has been promoted to executive creative director and managing partner.

Prior to joining Martin, Costello was executive creative director for Deutsch in Los Angeles, where she helped grow their office from 13 people to more than 400 in its first few years and more recently had led creative for accounts including Target, Georgia-Pacific and Zillow.

Martin said Costello repeatedly appears on top creative lists. She was named No. 3 on Business Insider’s list of top creative women in advertising.

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