Tonise Paul becomes Chairman of Energy BBDO


Energy BBDO announced today that Jeff Adkins, currently EVP and Managing Director, is being promoted to President and CEO of the agency beginning January 1, 2020. He succeeds Tonise Paul, who will become Chairman.

Adkins joined Energy BBDO in 2002 from EuroRSCG (now Havas). Over the years, he has served as Client Service Director, Chief Marketing Officer.

Most recently, as Managing Director, Adkins has successfully led the agency’s new business engine and key accounts including Mars Wrigley, Pearle Vision, Avocados From Mexico, Kerrygold, and MillerCoors.

According to a press release, his leadership has led to award-winning, business-building work like the wildly successful Sustained Success Effie-winning Extra Gum “Give Extra, get extra” platform and “Sarah & Juan” film, as well as Pearle Vision’s “Ben’s Glasses,” and the highly acclaimed “Prescribed to Death” campaign for the National Safety Council.

He has played a critical role in leading the agency’s new business efforts and driving growth—under his leadership, the agency has added nine new clients in the past three years.

He has also been an important driver of modern integration and the expansion of capabilities including data-analytics, in-house production, and multicultural. He has a BBA from the University of Michigan.

“Jeff has more than the full-throttle capability to continue our agency evolution as the leading-edge creative organization that energizes people and brands,” Ms. Paul said in the same press release.

She added, “Jeff has given the past 17 years of his career to helping shape and drive the culture, capabilities, and future potential of EnergyBBDO; now he has the opportunity as CEO to realize that potential. As our Managing Director for the past six years, Jeff has led our clients to work that works. He has led our agency to great wins. And he has enabled and championed new capabilities and integrated working models. Our clients are thrilled. Our people are thrilled. And I couldn’t be more grateful to have Jeff be the person who assumes what I think is the best job in our industry.”

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Chairman Paul

Tonise. Paul is one of the longest-tenured female CEOs in the advertising industry and was the first female CEO appointed to the BBDO Worldwide Board of Directors, which she will continue to serve on.

She is a champion of women’s and children’s concerns, sitting on the boards of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the Off the Street Club. She has been recognized as “Advertising Woman of the Year” by the Chicago Advertising Federation, included in 40 Under 40 by Crain’s, and named one of the 30 most powerful women in advertising by Business Insider.

She is a member of the Chicago Network, the Economics Club, and the Commercial Club of Chicago and was named Chairman of the Board of the Executives’ Club of Chicago in 2018

Paul first came to Energy BBDO as an Account Executive in 1984 and has served as its President and CEO for the last 24 years.

She is responsible for transforming the agency from a fledgling satellite office into a global, integrated, award-winning creative organization partnering with industry-leading companies to build some of the world’s most iconic brands.

In 2005, Paul ignited the agency’s rebranding to Energy BBDO around the organization’s mission to energize people and energize brands—a philosophy that has further infused a culture around The Work.

In her new role as Chairman, she will focus on top-to-top client relationships, mentoring and coaching, and representing the agency externally to drive increased knowledge and respect for Energy BBDO within the community.

“We believe firmly in succession planning and nothing could be more seamless than promoting Jeff to the role of president and CEO of our agency,” said Ms. Paul, adding, “It’s the same approach we took earlier this year when promoting Josh Gross and Pedro Pérez to the roles of co-chief creative officers. What a luxury it is to have such an unfair share of the industry’s most exceptional talent.”

Energy BBDO is coming off of an extraordinary year creatively and in terms of Effie performance, and that momentum has continued in 2019, with extraordinary new business wins such as the global Champion business.

Just this week, both the global digital agency of record assignment from the Australian home improvement giant James Hardie, and the global Brown-Forman business, including Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Tequila Herradura, el Jimador, and Old Forester.