Barton F. Graf today (June 25th) announced the hire of Savanah Brihn as its chief strategy officer and the promotion of Sara Kastner to the agency’s first-ever chief operating officer, effective immediately.
Brihn joins from McCann New York, where she was most recently SVP group planning director, working on a number of clients and projects including NatGeo’s immersive experience to promote Darren Aronofsky’s ‘One Strange Rock’ series.
Prior to McCann, she held senior strategy positions leading brand innovation at MTV and agency Redscout working on MillerCoors and Pepsi. She also worked on brand strategy at BBDO across FedEx and Mars, and Fallon on Buffalo Wild Wings and Purina.
As chief strategist, Brihn has oversight of the agency’s strategy department, working across all clients including Little Caesars, Diageo brands Bulleit whiskey and Ketel One vodka, Supercell, Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish.
Kastner joined Barton in 2014 and most recently was head of project management across all the agency's clients. With roughly 20 years of project management experience, she has worked at agencies ranging from Fallon to BarrettSF, and Wieden + Kennedy, where she spent nine years in project manager roles, including senior project manager.
In the new role of COO, she’ll continue to oversee all project management and drive creative-related operations for the agency.
Both are reporting to Gerry Graf, founder and chief creative officer, and will work directly with chief executive Caroline Winterton, who started at Barton on May 9.
Gerry Graf said in a statement: “Strategy at Barton is the key to our creative process. I spend more time with our chief strategy officer than probably anyone else. When it came to hiring a new CSO, were very selective in the process. We interviewed dozens of candidates for the role, and it turned out that Savanah, who was one of the first people we met with, had the approach to planning and strategy we were looking for the entire time. She’s the perfect addition to our team.”
Brihn added: “I’ve long admired Barton F. Graf and have been a big fan of Gerry for years. The work is so smart, it speaks for itself. When the opportunity to join the agency came about, I did not hesitate. I feel so lucky to be joining a group of people who want to push boundaries in insightful, memorable ways.”
Kastner said: “There’s no team out there like the one we have at Barton. It has been a great ride so far and I am thrilled. The momentum and energy at Barton right now feels fantastic! I look forward to continuing to help create the smart and unexpectedly entertaining work we've always made.”
Graf said of his new chief operating officer: “Since the day she arrived, Sara has acted as the glue to hold everything together at Barton. She has kept me sane for the last four years. It was a no brainer to give her a bigger role as COO so she can share her brand of Zen calm with the entire agency.”