New gigs for Sciarotta, Funk, Kirk and Gitersonke

Joe Sciarrotta

Joe Sciarotta promoted to Ogilvy Co-U.S. Creative Officer

Ogilvy and Mather announced that the agency promoted veteran Chicago creative leader, Joe Sciarotta to U.S. Chief Creative Officer along with Alfonson Marian, who will also share the title. According to a report in AgencySpy, they will form a new stateside management team alongside U.S. CEO Lou Aversano and chief strategy officer Steve Zaroff.

“Joe and Alfonso are true champions of Pervasive Creativity,” said Worldwide Chief Creative Officer and Co-Chairman Tham Khai Meng. “They have the passion, dedication and talent to inspire game-changing work that will take Ogilvy’s global creative agenda to the next level in the U.S.”

Sciarrota is a 15-year veteran of the Ogilvy organization who previously worked at agencies including DDB and GS&P. He won a 2006 Grand Effie for Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty.” He most recently led such projects as Glade’s “Museum of Feelings” and “That One Moment,” a collaboration between rock band OK Go and Morton Salt.

Under Sciarotta and Marian’s leadership, Ogilvy USA won an amazing 35 Lions at this year’s Cannes festival, a record for the network.

“We’ve been going through a very thoughtful process of considering how we take our business forward and looking at the U.S. as a total market rather than just a collection of offices,” Aversano stated in an Adweek report. “We made the decision to promote [Joe and Alfonso] and have them partner with Steve and myself to lead the U.S. network forward.”

The news follows a progressive restructuring of the Ogilvy organization on both the worldwide and national levels after global CEO John Seifert announced the first wave in January.

Escape Pod gets the Funk

Small Midwest Agency of the Year, The Escape Pod announced has appointed Dan Funk as Director of Strategy. According to a statement, Dan will lead the agency’s research and strategy group, stewarding brand and communication strategies for clients and evolving the agency’s strategic offerings.

Dan FunkDan has served in strategy leadership roles for some of the world’s most creative brand and communication agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, TBWA/Chiat/Day and Leo Burnett.

He has also developed high growth strategies for iconic brands across a broad range of categories, including finance, packaged goods, retail, spirits, IT, consumer electronics and the military.

Dan has been recognized with multiple effectiveness awards, including a Grand Effie in 2008 for the launch of the Nintendo Wii, voted the year’s most effective marketing campaign by the American Marketing Association.

“We interviewed a lot of people for this role, but what sets Dan apart is his entrepreneurial spirit and modern approach to planning,” said Norm Bilow, Managing Director and Co-founder of The Escape Pod. He is insight-led but also hands-on and pragmatic.”

Funk added, “It’s exciting to join forces with an agency that knows exactly who they are and where they’re going. No one in The Escape Pod is sitting around worrying about what the next agency model will be; they’re out making it happen.”

Funk is also a serial entrepreneur, launching a number of innovative ventures in the food and agribusiness sector. He holds an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

tronc reassigns Jim Kirk

According to Robert Feder’s blog, “Robservations” former Chicago Sun-Times editor Jim Kirk has been named interim executive editor of the Los Angeles Times following a top-level shakeup at the newspaper by Chicago-based parent company.

Jim KirkThe move comes just 10 days after Kirk resigned as publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times to become senior vice president of strategic initiatives for troncX, the digital content and commerce division of tronc.

Kirk’s new assignment was prompted by the abrupt departure of Davan Maharaj as editor-in-chief and publisher of the Los Angeles Times Media Group.

Feder says Maharaj has been under fire for his management style and editorial judgment, particularly regarding the handing of several controversial investigative reporting series.

After five years at the Sun-Times, Kirk left in the wake of the paper’s sale to an investment group headed by Edwin Eisendrath, the former Chicago alderman, and a coalition of labor unions.

In the announcement of his hiring earlier this month, Kirk was to be working to accelerate the company’s digital growth to develop “strategic plans that leverage the company’s new content management system.”

Sarah Gitersonke’s new production

Sarah Gitersonke has left her position as Director of Business Development at Explore Media and is opening her own repping company, SG+Partners, to focus on top talent, with a focus on diversity and female directors.

Follow Colin Costello on Twitter @colincostello10.