DDB North America has today announced the appointment of Milo Chao as Chief Strategy Officer at DDB Chicago. Chao will oversee strategic functions for the office’s portfolio of clients at a time of transformation and growth and with key insights help Unexpected Works come to life. Chao will report directly to DDB Chicago CEO, Andrea Diquez, who joined to lead the DDB network’s largest North American office in May of this year.
Diquez said: “Milo is a key addition to our leadership team here in Chicago and I could not be more thrilled that he is joining us. His incredibly diverse, international background, and hugely successful track record, combined with his entrepreneurial mindset, passion and creative spirit will be essential to our strategic approach during this time of transformation.”
As a Chinese Irish American, originally from Dublin, Ireland, and grew up in Queens, New York, Chao brings to his role an integrated skill set and a diverse, international perspective, having held leadership positions at several agencies and within global start-ups. He has a long and highly regarded career, starting out in New York and working across the globe in Europe and Asia on clients as diverse as Dell, Sony, Toyota, Mars, Philips, Unilever and PepsiCo.
Chao returns to the DDB network with over 22 years of experience and a unique set of skills including creative and brand, platform, commerce, and start-up experience. During his career, Chao spent time at DDB in Asia, as Regional Head of Planning in Singapore and worked his way up to Head of Strategic Planning for Greater China before leaving for Omnicom agency TBWA.
Said Eric Zuncic, Chief Strategy Officer, DDB North America: “Milo is one of the rare multi-disciplinary strategists who has always been in service of the broadest-possible definition of creativity. His history of building deep client and creative relationships to help grow businesses of every scale, in every industry, all around the world is a credit to his ability to develop unexpected ideas that drive business forward.”
Most recently Chao has spent the past two years in Los Angeles leading marketing communications for simplehuman, a privately held home goods company. There he was tasked with executing new brand strategy following a highly successful brand consulting engagement during his time as Principal at chao&chao. Chao founded his own company to help top brands and agencies, including Lego and Ford, reach deeper into the Chinese market, as a result of his time as an expert-in-residence at Shanghai’s leading start-up accelerator, China Accelerator. Chao still mentors and has advised more than 100 digital start-ups, ranging from bitcoin to blockchain and upcycling to influencer marketing. With his entrepreneurial background, Chao is strategically in tune with market disruptors and the speed of business today, and these insights will inform him in his role during a new era for DDB Chicago.
“I am very happy to be returning to the DDB network and to be joining the Chicago office under Andrea’s leadership. I can’t wait to build on DDB’s strong creative legacy by infusing a re-imagined strategy that results in truly unexpected creative works,” Chao said.
In addition, Chao feeds his own obsession with creativity through a podcast series The Milo Chao Show, originally intended for a Mainland Chinese audience, where he has interviewed advertising legends, including Lee Clow and George Lois, as well as some of the most famous creative minds in China.