Pictured above L-R: Eric Looney, Kaleeta McDade, Craig Elimeliah and Walter Geer
VMLY&R announces the expansion of its experience design (XD) division with two executive appointments. Kaleeta McDade joins as chief experience design officer, North America, to jointly lead the agency’s growing experience design team alongside Eric Looney who has been a leader on the XD team for the last five years. In her new role, McDade will bridge creative storytelling, technology, design and user experience for clients across VMLY&R’s client portfolio. The agency’s XD team currently supports a growing list of major clients, including Ford, Colgate, Walgreens, Sherwin-Williams, and T-Mobile, signaling a growing capability demand and need across the industry. Both McDade and Looney will report to Debbi Vandeven, VMLY&R’s global chief creative officer.
McDade joins VMLY&R from Ogilvy, where she served as global executive creative director and was responsible for defining, shaping, and driving the creative vision and strategy across the agency’s experience offerings. McDade also spent six years at Deloitte Digital, where she served as group experience director across studios in the U.S. and India. Over the past 17 years, she has also held coveted senior design and creative roles with leading digital companies like Google Brand Studio, Apple, Sapient Shanghai, and Sapient Atlanta.
McDade is celebrated for her proven ability to drive impact for brands, helping them shape a strategy and vision that deepens the customer relationship across every stage of the engagement life cycle. Throughout her career, Kaleeta's influence and leadership have informed how customers around the world experience some of the largest brands in retail, sports, beauty, and health.
“Relationships drive the ecosystem of opportunity; leading the burgeoning experience design practice at VMLY&R was an extraordinary opportunity worth pursuing. I’m thrilled to take on this new chapter in my career journey. Truly grateful for the deep focus on creativity as well as the relationships forged during my time at Ogilvy, and appreciate their support in my transition to another tree in the WPP family,” said McDade.
In addition to McDade and Looney’s executive appointments, VMLY&R announces the promotion of Craig Elimeliah to chief experience design officer, T-Mobile. Elimeliah is an award-winning creative leader who has been a catalyst for creativity and innovation at VMLY&R for seven years, working with leading companies such as Google, New Balance, Amazon, Dell and more. He brings over two decades of specialized expertise in designing and architecting solutions for brands and delivering new products and services. Elimeliah is based in New York and will report to McDade.
The appointments follow on the heels of Walt Geer’s recent appointment to chief experience design officer at VMLY&R Health, rounding out an all-star XD leadership team across the global agency.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kaleeta to VMLY&R. Her wide range of expertise in creating unique engagement experiences for all audiences will undoubtedly be an asset to the agency,” says Debbi Vandeven, global chief creative officer, VMLY&R. “Under Kaleeta and Eric's departmental leadership, and the expertise and craft that Craig and Walt bring to their teams, the XD practice will continue its growth and pursuit to continue elevating and evolving our overall creative offering for clients.”