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TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles Strengthens Leadership Team with New Executive Hires and Promotion

With more than 100 new hires in 2021 alone, TBWAChiatDay LA has experienced a significant surge, fueled by organic growth, recent new business wins and the investment in key areas across the agency from a capabilities, talent and diversity perspective. Hempe, Nelson and Thorburn round out the agency’s executive leadership team, working alongside Chief Executive Officer Erin Riley, Chief Strategy Officer Jen Costello and Chief Creative Officer Renato Fernandez.

“Wayne and Courtney have exceptional experience and big hearts.  I am confident this powerful combination added to an already deep bench of agency leaders will further accelerate our momentum while also enriching our culture,” said Riley.

With a finance career spanning more than 23 years, Hempe spent 14 years within the TBWA collective, previously holding senior leadership positions at Nissan United, TBWAWorldwide, TBWASouth Africa and TBWANEBOKO in Amsterdam, a testament to the company’s commitment to talent mobility and advancement. Most recently, Hempe served as VP, Finance at TBWA’s Nissan United North America. In his new role as CFO, Hempe will be integral in developing its business plans for growth and will be in charge of the agency’s overall financial performance and client and other stakeholder negotiations.  With a passion for people, Hempe will also be involved in agency culture and DEI initiatives.

“I have always admired ChiatDay LA and am thrilled to join the team during this exciting time in their journey,” said Hempe. “I am passionate about creating an environment where we nurture our people to deliver the best product to our clients, moving us from success to significance amongst our peers.”

Nelson comes to TBWAChiatDay LA having spent more than a decade at Wieden+Kennedy Portland, rising through the ranks to Global Group Brand Director, creating impactful campaigns for brands including Nike, Levi’s, Instagram, P&G, Trolli, Secret Deodorant, and TurboTax, among others. The move marks a return to Chiat, as she previously worked at TBWAChiatDay from 2005 to 2008. Throughout her 22-year career she has spent time at other leading agencies, including Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Deutsch. As Managing Director, Nelson will oversee operations, brand and business management and production to streamline the agency’s systems as it continues to be in growth mode.

“ChiatDay LA has always been a creative powerhouse. It’s a part of its DNA,” said Nelson. “What drew me back again was leadership’s commitment to driving creative excellence in a way that is fueled by empathy and transparency. That combination is a rarity in our industry and it’s a passion point of mine. I look forward to doing my part to help write the agency’s next chapter.”

Thorburn joined the ChiatDay LA in 2017 and has been integral in the development of training programs including “Disrupting Recruiting” to eliminate unconscious bias in the hiring process, established affinity groups, hiring key positions, and implemented performance management systems to nurture and retain talent. As part of the leadership team, Thorburn has been instrumental in implementing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts throughout the agency. Her leadership approach rooted in trust and transparency has continued to transform and shape the agency’s unique culture offering.

Added Riley, “Sheri is the most dimensional talent partner I have ever experienced, perfectly balancing empathy with analytical rigor.  She is a strategic force, a human force, and a cultural force within the agency.  She has elevated the discipline and has been instrumental in igniting the agency’s growth, and ensuring we’ve got best in class, diverse talent to respond to it.”


TBWAChiatDay LA is the original Disruption® company. Shunning the conventions of Madison Avenue, ChiatDay kick-started the West Coast ad boom in 1968 and has been disrupting for more than fifty years. As stewards of the brand, TBWAChiatDay LA has spawned some of the world’s most iconic brands by finding the white space through its Disruption methodology and driving dramatic business results through brave creativity. Specializing in brand strategy and creative strategy, design, social, data and analytics, multicultural, purpose, user experience and production, TBWAChiatDay’s client roster includes Gatorade, Discover, Blue Diamond, QuickBooks, Principal Financial, Behr Paint, The Recording Academy and more. In 2021, 2020 and 2019, TBWA has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies.


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