October 5, 2023 – ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, recently assisted in the recruitment of Steve Babcock as the new chief creative officer for Marketing Architects. Sue Hardek and Darren Mooney led the assignment on behalf of ZRG. Mr. Babcock succeeds Rob DeMars, who has been with Marketing Architects for 19 years. Mr. DeMars recently transitioned into a new role as chief product architect in which he is embracing his entrepreneurial side to build additional revenue streams for the agency. It was this transition that kicked off the search for a hire to lead the creative team.
“Steve’s history of building famous brands is an ideal fit for us as we continue pushing our creative output to the next level,” said Mr. DeMars. “We’re thrilled to welcome him to the agency.”
With more than 20 years of advertising experience, Mr. Babcock’s hire brings a wealth of creative knowledge to the agency. He formerly served as chief creative officer at VaynerMedia, where he was responsible for advancing the agency’s creative processes. His past roles also include creative directing and copywriting at agencies such as Boede + Partners, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and EVB.
Most recently, Mr. Babcock ran his own consulting firm, Made In-house, which helped brands elevate their internal creative capabilities. His portfolio features campaigns for brands like Volkswagen, Best Buy, American Express, Activision, and KraftHeinz.
In his new role, Mr. Babcock will apply his creative know-how and track record of innovation to guide Marketing Architects’ vision for clients’ creative work. “I can’t wait to channel my experience into crafting work for such a unique agency,” said Mr. Babcock. “As a creative, I’ve always looked for ways to push the ad industry forward, and Marketing Architects’ one-of-a-kind model provides opportunity to do exactly that.”
Marketing Architects is an all-inclusive TV agency that rebuilt the traditional agency model to help brands drive profitable growth. Founded in Minneapolis, MN, Marketing Architects has spent 25 years building homegrown technology to solve TV’s pricing, measurement, and scale challenges.
Global Search Firm
ZRG, founded in 1999, is a mid-sized global executive search firm and one of the fastest growing in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services, and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology. ZRG is based in Rochelle Park, NJ.
Ms. Hardek joined ZRG as a managing director in 2022. She has spent the past 25 years identifying and recruiting talent to fuel business growth in the digital industry. Ms. Hardek partners with PE/VC-firms, Series B, and beyond start-ups to Fortune 100 clients helping them find digital change agents and leaders to scale and/or transform their businesses. Most recently, she has been focused in helping clients find E-Commerce, digital marketing, and digital product executives.
Mr. Mooney joined ZRG as managing director in 2022, bringing to the firm 10-plus years of experience working across various industries. He previously served as an executive senior partner at Talentfoot Executive Search, a boutique agency focused on digital marketing, sales, and technology. In this role, Mr. Mooney built the media and analytics practice, led the firm in billings in 2020 and 2021, and was instrumental in scaling the firm’s revenue by 400 percent over three years.
ZRG recently assisted in the recruitment of Suzie Tsai as chief growth officer for Bonchon, a Korean fried chicken restaurant chain. Issy Perez, managing director, and Cheryl Malcomb Gonzales, managing associate, led the assignment. Ms. Tsai joins Bonchon with more than 25 years of marketing and branding experience, leading the strategy of brands such as On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, KidZania USA, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Verizon, and The Dallas Morning News. “Congratulations to Suzie Tsai, chief growth officer at Bonchon,” said ZRG Partners in an online post. “Her 25-plus years of leadership experience in food and hospitality will further propel Bonchon’s amazing growth in the U.S.”
“As we look at our next stage of growth, it’s important that we have a leader who has a track record of scaling brands and contributes to our mission of sharing the joy of Korean comfort food around the world,” said Bonchon CEO Bryan Shin. “Suzie’s multifaceted experience in food and beverage marketing, insights, innovation, brand strategy and global franchise operations will play an instrumental role in helping us evolve as a brand.”
Related: ZRG Recruits CEO for Quarterhill
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media