Meet The 10 Most-Liked Ad Agency CEOs

greenberg, jeffrey, sweeneyInteger’s Mike Sweeney, JWT’s Bob Jeffrey and R/GA’s Bob Greenberg all make our list … but where?

Who are the most-liked ad agency CEOs in the business?

We asked our friends at Glassdoor, the careers site, to sift their database of company reviews for the answer. They pulled out the agency leaders who received at least 25 reviews from current or former employees over the last two years.

Go straight to the list >

The results are surprising. Some of the usual suspects are here — Madison Avenue leaders at big, famous agencies.

There’s a light seasoning of leaders from hot digital shops, too.

But most people in the business probably won’t guess who the two most popular bosses in the adbiz are. They’re at very un-trendy shops …

(A note on Glassdoor’s methodology: Companies that offer traditional advertising services, online advertising, display advertising, advertising tools, and those that are performance marketing companies targeting consumer engagement with brands were considered for these reports.)

First we'll show you the 10 most-popular CEOs as ranked by their own staff.

After that, we'll talk about the CEOs who didn't make the top 10 but are still ranked highly by their employees >>
All the employee comments that follow refer to the agency culture, not the CEO specifically.

10. Cobalt's John W.P. Holt

Cobalt got a 74% rating from his employees.

They said:

Pros -- Very laid back and fun work environment in an energetic urban setting.

Cons -- Promotion can be difficult to attain.

9. JWT's Bob Jeffrey

Jeffrey got an 83% rating from his employees.

They said:

Pros -- Opportunity to work on iconic brands!
Strong strategic focus.

Cons -- No efforts to involve new employee in the company culture.

8. ReachLocal's Zorik Gordon

Gordon received an 83% rating from his staff.

They said:

Pros -- Great place to start your career. Do people leave after a year or two? Yeah. Why? Because they have the experience other companies want when hiring for upper-level positions. I love working here. I have learned so much and am very comfortable with the digital media space. It would be very easy to stay with the company for life. There are always opportunities for advancement. The only people that complain are the ones that aren't willing to learn and put in the work. Management is always trying to help you grow. Great sense of autonomy.

Cons -- The platform has it's bugs. Sometimes campaigns don't perform as well as you'd like. However, that comes with the territory. Part of becoming successful in business is learning to overcome these obstacles and spin them to be something positive.

7. Acxiom's Scott Howe

Howe was given an 84% rating by his staff.

They said:

Pros -- Acxiom has a strong solution and high quality products.

Cons -- The company seemed to initially thrive when Scott Howe took over, but beginning in FY13, new compensation packages were introduced which were definitely not sales friendly. Commissions were only paid out quarterly and only if you were at 100% of your number and then at the end of the year you were eligible for other bonuses depending on your group, etc. There have been several quality tenured employees that have left the company and they had a round of layoffs in February. You may need to buckle up for the ride.

6. Razorfish's Bob Lord

Lord received an 84% rating from his staff.

They said:

Pros -- Your coworkers will be fabulous at Razorfish - they are really good at recruiting smart, interesting people. There are also good benefits in terms of time off (although it can often be hard to take all the time you are offered).

Cons -- Not all of the work is that interesting these days...and there are many late nights or intensely long weeks. It is rare to work less than 50 hours a week, and it is often much, much more.

5. Ogilvy's Miles Young

Young was given an 87% rating from his staff.

They said:

Pros -- I freelanced at Ogilvy for nearly 6 years in the creative department. You are pretty much treated like an adult...come and go as you please, as long as the work is done. The atmosphere is very laid back and team-oriented. I'm sure there are some groups within the company that are a bit tougher (depending on client, creative director, etc.) and more structured but honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this place.

Cons -- The elephant in the room is the location...Eleventh and 46th is not exactly stimulating. And the commute can be tough. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.

4. Leo Burnett's Tom Bernardin

Bernardin received a 91% rating from his staff.

They said:

Pros -- Live music at lunch, old school bar in lobby, smart creative and strategic people.

Cons -- Part of a huge huge huge holding company.

3. R/GA's Bob Greenberg

Greenberg got a 92% rating from his staff.

They said:

Pros -- The projects were interesting , processes are well defined and the good reputation of the agency is great for your portfolio.

Cons -- Working with rock stars that think they know it all. Not friendly environment to work with.

2. Responsys' Dan Springer

Springer received a 94% rating from his staff.

They said:

Pros -- Good pay


A lot of opportunity


Good management layer


The best people in the industry


Industry leader


Great culture

Cons -- Rapid growth can be a challenge


A lot of new people every day


Some teams operate in silos

1. Integer's Mike Sweeney

Sweeney got a 94% rating from his employees.

They said:

Pros -- Fun, relaxed yet hard working culture. Employees genuinely like each other and like working for Integer. This culture is about being real and not taking yourself too seriously. 
Smart people. Nowhere to hide if you don't pull your weight.
 Not overly political in comparison to other agencies. Strong client partnerships, genuinely care about clients and their business.

Cons -- Male dominated at the top, so it is harder for women to get promoted above a VP level. Only the cronies and beer drinking crowd gets above that level. 
Many talented creative teams. Good account talent as well. 
Not great at developing breakthrough strategies. Strategic planning could be stronger.

Now here are the CEOs who didn't make the cut.

They weren't in the top 10 because they didn't receive enough Glassdoor reviews during the last two years.

But the reviews they did get indicate they're well-liked by their staff.

We have ranked them in ascending order based on positive reviews of their agencies overall; the specific percentage ranking each CEO received was for them personally, however. >>

Adknowledge's Ben Legg

Legg got a 79% ranking from his employees.

They said:

Pros -- * Great company with tons of benefits that keep employees' interests in mind


* Open communication from upper management


* Tons of room for growth and career development


* The work is challenging but rewarding, not your same old day-to-day work


* Data driven goals with a generous bonus and benefits program


* Freedom to express ideas and the ability to implement them

Cons --

* There are never enough hours in the day to keep up with the internet.

Grey Group's Jim Heekin

Heekin got a 94% rating from his employees.

They said:

Pros -- Most talented team of creative professionals in the US and around the world.

Cons -- Very competitive environment for junior staff.

VML's Jon Cook

Cook got a 100% rating from his employees.

They said:

Pros -- The culture is really vibrant, great, and addictive. People are funny, passionate, and challenging (in a good way!)

Cons -- In working in the NY office (the headquarters are in KC, Missouri) not many vendors or agencies have heard of the small, satellite office. But, we're getting our name out there!

Wildfire's Victoria Ransom

Ransom got a 90% rating from her employees.

They said:

Pros -- The people here are really fun and really drive. The atmosphere is great. It's a super exciting time right now.

Cons -- There are definitely some growing pains. A solid amount of management problems (in terms of who they are and how inexperienced they are).

Performics' Daina Middleton

Middleton got a 96% rating from her employees.

They said:

Pros -- very great place to work. You will have to want to be in SEO and Search. Not allot of options outside of search.

Cons -- Working remotely is available. But very difficult.

Springbox's Tom West

West received a 96% rating from his employees.

They said:

Pros -- I've seen the leadership change a few times over the years and through all the change, good and bad, Springbox is still the best place I've ever worked. I try not to take it for granted and complain about the small stuff. I learn something new almost daily while working on challenging projects. The office is great, the people are great, and I am truly happy with my career at Springbox.

Cons -- Still some work to be done to get all the teams to work together smoothly and understand processes because of the changes in staff and leadership.

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