BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mullen announced today that Alex Leikikh, 40, will become the third Chief Executive Officer in the agency’s history, and that Joe Grimaldi, 62, who has been CEO since 1999, will become Chairman as part of a carefully planned transition at the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) owned agency.
Leikikh, who first joined Mullen in 2009 as Director of Account Service, has been President in the agency’s Boston office since 2011. He came to Mullen from Fallon in Minneapolis as part of an agency transformation architected and put in motion by Grimaldi in 2007. It began with the relocation of Mullen to a new, modern headquarters in downtown Boston after having been housed in a series of country estates since its founding by Jim Mullen in 1970. The transformation continued with the recruitment of current Chief Creative Officer Mark Wenneker, the subsequent appointment of Chief Media Officer John Moore and the hiring of Chief Strategy Officer Kristen Cavallo. Together with Leikikh they form Mullen’s current executive leadership team.
“Alex is my handpicked successor,” said Grimaldi. “I was pretty certain he was the guy by the time our courtship concluded with him joining Mullen. My confidence has grown with every passing month and year as he and the leadership team have created head-turning success. Our agency is at its historical peak today. It is just the beginning of a more distinguished future under Alex’s leadership.”
Leikikh started his agency career at Leo Burnett in Chicago in 1995, where he had a number of Philip Morris company assignments. He moved to Fallon in 1998 and worked his way up to senior account management positions on United Airlines, National/Alamo Rental Cars, Garmin and BMW. At Mullen, Leikikh has been instrumental in the remarkable growth of the agency over the past four years. Leikikh and his partners have led Mullen in winning numerous high-profile, competitive new-business pitches for clients that include JetBlue, Acura, U.S. Cellular, American Greetings, Google, Zappos, Barnes & Noble, iRobot and FAGE. The agency has increased revenues by 115 percent, hired more than 250 new people and expanded from its existing office locations in Boston, Pittsburgh and Winston-Salem, NC, into the creative hotbeds of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“More than anything else, I’m grateful for the nearly incomprehensible amount of blood, sweat and tears our relentless and talented employees have put into this company over the past 4+ years,” said Leikikh. “Together we’ve built a modern agency; one that I’m honored to lead. It's true that when Joe recruited me to Mullen, I told him I wanted his job. He laughed and gave me two things: a defined set of metrics to hit and enough rope to do the job. Joe deserves all the credit in the world for orchestrating our modernization plan and recruiting world-class talent. My plan is to keep Mullen focused on our beloved clients and to continue to attract more challenger brands to our agency.”
On a personal note, Leikikh’s family came to the United States from the former Soviet Union when he was five years old. During his junior year in high school, Leikikh enlisted in the United States Army National Guard and completed his service upon graduation from Carleton College.
Grimaldi will continue as Mullen Chairman through December 2015. He has been with Mullen for 31 years and became CEO 14 years ago, when the company was purchased by IPG. During his tenure, Mullen has grown over fourfold, expanded from one to five offices and risen in stature from a local shop to a leading national agency. In addition to his service at Mullen, Grimaldi has been an active and vocal leader in numerous industry and community organizations, including the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX), The Ad Club (Hall of Fame inductee), the 4A’s, Junior Achievement, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, Essex County Community Foundation, the Boston College Carroll School of Management and Endicott College.
Mullen is a “hyperbundled” agency, integrating disciplines from creative to digital marketing, media planning and buying, mobile marketing, public relations and social influence, design, CRM and performance analytics. Mullen specializes in working with thought-leader brands, including Acura, Google, JetBlue, Zappos, U.S. Cellular, FAGE, American Greetings and iRobot. Mullen has been named to the Advertising Age Agency A-List and one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies. The agency is headquartered in Boston and is an independent brand within the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG). For more on Mullen, please visit www.mullen.com, twitter.com/mullenunbound or facebook.com/mullenunbound.