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Ken Black Joins GMR as Chief Creative Officer

Global creative and innovation leader will oversee agency's creative direction

Ken Black, the former vice president of digital design transformation and global Olympic creative director at Nike, has joined GMR Marketing as chief creative officer. Black is charged with global creative direction for the agency and its roster of clients, and will lead GMR’s 80+ person global creative team.

Tyson Webber, president of GMR Marketing, said, “As an experiential agency, creative storytelling, brand building and the creation of powerfully designed spaces is vital to our business. With Ken’s legacy of design, innovation and creative leadership at Nike, he’s the ideal candidate to lead our creative efforts and talent as we push both the boundaries of the industry and brand interactions with consumers.” 

Black’s 25-year career in and around Nike was built upon changing the game of business and sport. His experience includes starting divisions like Nike Team Sports (NFL, NBA & NCAA), and Nike Advanced Concepts (Nike Free, Nike 6.0), transitioning Air Jordan into Brand Jordan (art direction and design of Air Jordan XI and XII collections), and leading global creative for the Sydney and Rio Olympic Games.

After building the start-up SPARQ Training, which was later acquired by Nike and ESPN, Black returned to the company to lead business and creative as a member of Nike’s Executive Creative Leadership Team. Most recently, he held the role as enterprise leader of Nike’s Digital (Product) Design Transformation—driving the vision, strategy and execution of the 3D/Digital Design Transformation of Nike footwear and apparel product creation.

“Ken is a passionate entrepreneur—an attribute that has been core to GMR's spirit since we established both our agency, and the experiential industry, 40 years ago," Webber said.

“My goal has always been to use creativity, storytelling and design to make a difference and leave an impact on culture and society,” said Black. “GMR’s purpose to bring brands and humans together to create powerful memories is something I’m truly passionate about. It gives us a mandate to create in a way that changes the way people see and experience the world.”

Black’s hire comes at a time of accelerating momentum for the agency, which recently expanded its creative services to include new executive creative directors—David Lemke, previously of Opus Agency, in the San Francisco market and Dino Tzouroutis, formerly with Dang! and Pace Communications, in the Charlotte market.

“I am excited for this new opportunity and challenge. My experience has taught me first-hand that making consumer-led decisions about design, innovation and technology is what makes brands and products stand out,” Black added. “I’m excited to work with our teams to conceptualize the future and create memories that are truly unforgettable.” 

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