Mischief and No Fixed Address hire Publicis vet Katie Newman as first global CMO
Exec who led key business for Publicis agencies in the U.S. will help steer responsible growth as NFA Inc. profile rises in North America.
Katie Newman, who previously led new business across Publicis’ U.S. creative agencies, has joined No Fixed Address Inc. as its first global chief marketing officer and partner. In her new post, she will help steer the growth of founding agency No Fixed Address, headquartered in Canada, as well as its U.S. offshoot, Mischief.
Newman arrives as No Fixed Address (NFA) has risen in prominence across North America, fueled extensively by the growth of Mischief @ No Fixed Address, founded in 2020 in New York City with former BBDO New York Chief Creative Officer Greg Hahn. Over the last year, Mischief grew from 20 to more than 60 staff. It now works with clients including Molson Coors, Kraft Heinz, Tinder, Shutterfly and Netflix.
Overall, NFA Inc. now has an integrated team of more than 200 in North America across its agencies, with capabilities spanning creative, digital, PR, health, media, experiential and content. Last year, the agency’s overall North American revenue jumped 100%, thanks in large part to growth from Mischief and NFA Health.
NFA's president and partner, Jordan Doucette, left in August to become chief creative officer at FCB West in San Francisco, after which NFA CMO Mark Carpenter moved into the role she vacated.
Newman’s hire fills that CMO gap and more, NFA Co-Founder and CEO Dave Lafond said.
“I wanted to make sure that we were really focused on our growth strategy,” said LaFond. “We’ve done a good job over the last five or six years being very selective of where we go. I was feeling that our growth happened so fast that I wanted someone of Katie’s caliber. When we met Greg, we just exploded, and I want to make sure that he and the Mischief team are surrounded by the right talent.”
Lafond, himself a Publicis vet of more than a decade, had been following his former agency’s growth and started conversations with Newman through a mutual friend.
Newman said that when deciding to depart big agency life for NFA, what spoke to her was the line that drew her colleague Hahn to the agency: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” The line greets visitors to the agency’s site, helping to attract both the right clients and talent. “It’s just very freeing to be able to work with fellow entrepreneurial people, to build something without fear,” she said.
NFA Inc. was founded in 2016 by agency vets and married couples, Lafond and Rachel Lai, one of the agency’s strategy gurus, and Serge and Shannon Rancourt. The agency has a talent- and strategy-first, flexible model that avoids silos. It adjusts itself around client needs, using cross-border teams pulled from its agencies when appropriate. For example, some creatives work as “double agents” across Mischief and NFA clients, while NFA does media for about four or five Mischief clients.
Newman’s role as global CMO will be crucial as the agency navigates the reputation it’s built with NFA in Canada and Mischief stateside. “There’s a bigger story to be told about NFA Inc., which is the connected grid that brings everything together,” Newman said.
She said her goals are twofold. “One, is scaling connected capabilities across media, experiential, PR, healthcare, and of course, creativity, which is what Mischief is known for best,” she said. “Clients don't want to work with 10 agencies anymore. Under one model that prioritizes talent first over agencies, you get the very best talent every time with zero agency infighting. My job is to continue to grow and scale that story.”
Secondly, she wants to ensure that growth is responsible. Wth Mischief and NFA, “finding new clients is not the hard part, it's finding the right clients,” Newman said. “We want to find clients that share our values, who want to create a safe space for dangerous ideas. Clients actually shape an agency culture, and my job is to find and grow without ever compromising what makes this place so magical.”
In her last role at Publicis, Newman had been charged with overseeing pitches for Publicis’ U.S. agency group, which consists of Leo Burnett, Fallon, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi as well as Le Truc, the network’s U.S.-based center of creative excellence.
She previously worked at agencies including Barkley, Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Leo Burnett before becoming CMO at content firm The Abundancy, which Publicis acquired in 2017. That followed with her promotion to CMO at Leo Burnett and then to that of Publicis U.S. creative agencies.
“Katie led new business for the U.S. creative agencies, and we thank her for her contributions and wish her the best in her new role,” a Publicis spokeperson said.