Zulu Alpha Kilo Promotes Mike Sutton to CEO
During the pandemic, agency leaders have all had to step up to manage the crisis. According to Zulu Alpha Kilo founder & CCO Zak Mroueh, one person who really stepped up in particular during the past year was agency president and partner Mike Sutton.
Today the agency announced Sutton’s promotion to CEO, which marks a major milestone for Mroueh who’s held the post for the past 13 years. Like many agency owners, the pandemic gave him reason to ponder the future and where he wanted to focus his time post Covid. “My passion has always been about creative ideas and the work we do for our clients. But in typical entrepreneur fashion, I’ve been wearing too many hats for too long. With Mike’s proven leadership, moving forward I can have even more creative freedom to focus on our creative product without all the current day-to-day operational distractions.”
In the Fall, Mike and Zak spent many hours discussing the future and how to set up the agency for another decade of creative success. With a number of promotions and big hires in recent months, today’s announcement marks a critical piece of the agency’s long-term plan. It’s all part of Zulu’s 2030 re-engineering initiative to prepare for the decade ahead. In his new role, Sutton will take on even more responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the agency, freeing up Mroueh to focus on executing Zulu’s founding creative vision and goals. They’ll be working together to expand the agency into other markets. With Mike’s promotion, Zak takes on the added role of Chairman of the agency in addition to his CCO duties.
Mike, who joined Zulu as managing director in 2010, has played a big part in the agency as it has built a reputation as an industry outlier and one of the most respected independent agencies in the world. In 2012, he was made a partner in the agency and promoted to President in 2013. Over the years, the agency has received many accolades and won a lot of high-profile new business. For three years running, Zulu has been named one of Canada's Best Managed Companies by Deloitte. On two occasions, the agency has won top honors from Ad Age, as Small Agency of the Year and International Agency of the Year. Zulu was also named by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 100 innovators and one of Forbes Best Small Companies, a list inspired by Bo Burlingham’s book, Small Giants: Companies that Choose to be Great Instead of Big.
Mike started his career at digital shop Henderson Bas where he was responsible for leading the strategic development of large-scale digital programs for Molson and Coca-Cola. As one of 10 young Canadians selected for Marketing Magazine’s “Ones To Watch: Marketing’s Next Generation,” Mike built a reputation as a thought-leader in Interactive and non-traditional marketing. In 2005, he further honed his digital skills by joining Grip Limited. In five years at Grip, Mike played a leadership role in building Grip's digital capabilities, serving as an associate partner and head of client services for his final two years there. He worked with an impressive roster of brands, including Honda, Budweiser, Bud Light, Kokanee, Expedia and Johnson & Johnson.
Mike adds: “It’s been a crazy, thrilling ride these past 11 years at Zulu. I’m very proud of the agency we’ve built and the brave clients we get to work with every day. Zak and I make a great team. Looking to the future, we both want to nurture Zulu’s next generation of leaders and talent so the agency’s legacy can continue on.” Sutton has been cited by many current and former staff as a great mentor and leader. He’s currently in the process of getting his official executive coaching designation so he can continue to nurture great talent at the agency.
“Mike has been a true partner to me in every sense of the word. We share the same vision and belief that daring to do things differently will benefit our clients and help create a legendary agency legacy. As we work together towards achieving all our goals for the decade ahead, there is no one more perfect for this role than Mike.”