Apple announced a sweep of management changes on Thursday, which includes the appointment of Tor Myhren, who has become the company’s vice president of marketing and communications.
43-year-old Myhren will join in early 2016 from well-respected ad network Grey Group, where he was worldwide chief creative officer and president of its New York shop Grey New York.
Now he’s moving client-side. At Apple he’ll be responsible for all the brand’s marketing efforts — everything from its big TV campaigns, to packaging, and retail store displays.
He clearly can’t wait to get started.
Myhren sent Business Insider this statement: “My eight years at Grey aren’t just the best years of my career, they have been the best years of my life. I have treasured every single minute of working side by side with my mentor and friend Jim Heekin. There are no words to express how proud I am of what we built together. Apple has had such a positive influence on my life, and has helped shape and inspire my creativity more than any other product on the planet. I am humbled to be joining Tim and the team.”
A string of awards to his name
Myhren is a Mad Man with great pedigree. He was the creative mastermind behind the E*Trade talking baby, the DirectTV campaign with Rob Lowe, he made Ellen DeGeneres a CoverGirl model when she was 50-years-old, and most-recently the hard-hitting domestic violence PSA that run during this year’s Super Bowl.
In the six years he has been running Grey’s flagship office, he’s tripled its size to more than 1,000 staff and led it to being named trade magazine Adweek’s global agency of the year in both 2013 and 2015.
As well as winning countless industry awards for his work (globally, Grey won 113 of the prestigious Lions awards at the annual Cannes Lions advertising festival this year,) he’s also picked up gongs as an influential individual. He was named in Fortune’s “40 under 40” list, Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” list, AdAge’s 2010 “Creativity 50,” and he’s given two TED talks.
He’ll be sorely missed at Grey. The company’s group chairman and CEO Jim Heekin and Grey North America CEO Michael Houston sent a memo to staff Thursday morning, which said:
As the head of the Grey Global Creative Council, Tor has made a monumental contribution to our success, enhancing our creative product, talent and profile around the world. Today, we have a deep bench of accomplished creative leaders in place across the world, including Andreas Dahlqvist, the Chief Creative Officer of our flagship, Grey New York, to fuel our continued momentum.
Tor takes with him our gratitude and warmest wishes for continued success as he opens this new chapter in his career. Please give him your congratulations and thanks.
Respected by his rivals
Myhren is known as a fashionable (his sartorial colour scheme is black, grey, and blue) operator who gets things done, without showing off.
When Business Insider asked Myhren earlier this year if ad pitches nowadays are like the Don Draper-esque days of old, he said the “Mad Man” would be “laughed at” today: “We’re past the whole ‘dramatic delivery’ thing. Just get to your idea, make it relevant, and make it crystal clear. Never mind the drama.”
He’s respected by his peers and rivals alike.
Ted Royer, chief creative officer at ad agency Droga5, said: “Tor has turned around a huge agency, stuck with it, and made it great again. He’s a guy who stands up for our industry and makes it better. I’m very happy to hear he’s on to something this big. Well done, buddy.”
He doesn’t just do ads!
Myhren hasn’t always been an ad man.
He trained as a journalist and started out as a sports writer at The Providence Journal, a role he said helped him with his advertising career because it gave him the ability to keep to strict deadlines.
Hes also a film-maker on the side, with his feature-length documentary film “City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story” winning the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2010 Sonoma International Film Festival.
When he’s not being creative in the traditional way, Denver-born Myhren likes skiing and basketball — he played for Barack Obama’s alma mater Occidental College in Los Angeles.
He cites his favourite life experience as taking five months off work twice to travel around the world. He speaks Japanese (and is also married to a woman he met in Tokyo.)
Apple has hired an all-rounder the company will be hoping can repeat his successes from the agency world as a brand marketer.
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