Doner Names New President, Launches Inclusive Marketing Practice

Detroit-based Doner has appointed a new president to help launch its first inclusive marketing practice. Ben Grossman steps into the role after most recently serving as chief strategy and integration officer at the Detroit-based, Stagwell-owned agency. Grossman – who will report directly to Doner Partners Network (DPN) chair and Doner CEO David DeMuth – maintains his position as chief strategy officer of DPN, an award-winning micro-network within Stagwell that brings together agencies spanning marketing disciplines for seamless collaboration and efficiency. Craig Conrad continues in his position as chief operating officer.

“Operating at the [Doner-coined] intersection of Modern and Main Street means we work every day to put modern muscle to work to drive brands’ relevance with everyday people. No one does that better for our clients than Ben,” said DeMuth. “Ben has proven powerful at bringing the best out of our team–and attracting some of the industry’s best talent to add to it.”

Alima Trapp and Ben Grossman have new roles at Doner. Credit: Doner

Grossman has spent three years at the agency, most recently serving as chief strategy & integration officer at Doner and chief strategy officer at DPN. During his tenure, he has worked with clients to modernize their marketing through the agency’s data and technology capabilities, established a collaborative culture across DPN, and helped drive many of the agency’s biggest new business wins and awards. Prior to Doner, Grossman worked at FCB New York as part of a decade at Interpublic Group (IPG). His work has won nearly every top industry accolade, including honors from the Effie Awards, Cannes Lions, D&AD, The One Show, Jay Chiat Awards, ANA, and 4A’s. 

“There’s a mounting client need for Doner’s ability to help brands navigate the intersection of Modern and Main Street. I’m excited to usher in the agency’s next era, focused on what we know clients need to thrive there: marketing that is more data-driven, more digital-first, and more diverse and inclusive,” said Grossman. “I have a fundamental belief that every brand’s best days can be ahead of it. I’m excited to show that, after 87 years, that’s true for the Doner brand too–particularly as we see our industry merge, marginalize, and retire iconic agency brands. Doner is set to continue to defy the odds.”

In his new position, Grossman’s primary responsibilities include oversight of the account services department, continuing his leadership of the strategy department and establishing the agency’s first-ever Inclusive Marketing Practice. Alima Trapp returns to Doner as EVP, head of inclusive marketing to lead the practice. In her newly created role, Trapp will partner with Grossman to codify and drive the agency’s Inclusive Marketing Tool Set (Capabilities & Frameworks), Skill Set (Expertise, Training & Development), and Mindset (Agency Initiatives & Culture). Trapp previously served as SVP, strategic planning at Doner for seven years, prior to a three-year stint as EVP, head of strategy at Walton Isaacson. Before that, she worked at agencies including Starcom Worldwide, GlobalHue, and GTB.

This newly formalized discipline will help clients market to a North American population that is more diverse than ever before, across dimensions including ethnicity, age, religion, ability, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, primary language, geographic location, and more. Grossman will lead teams serving the agency’s full portfolio of clients, including Stellantis (Chrysler, RAM, Jeep, Fiat, Alfa Romeo), Coca-Cola’s fairlife, The UPS Store, McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Saucony. 

This news comes on the heels of the agency bringing in significant new business through partnerships with Jiffy Lube, Saucony, Poland Spring and Ice Mountain. To help move the needle for these brands, Doner announces a string of new hires during this juncture: 

Chris Hibi and Stephanie Kelly join as EVP, head of business strategy and EVP, head of brand strategy from FCB Chicago and Digitas Chicago, respectively. Hibi will focus on research, data, and analytics, while Kelly drives digital-first and social-first thinking for Doner’s full roster of clients. These newly created positions will include duties previously undertaken by Grossman in his position as chief strategy & integration officer.

Doug Guttenberg starts as EVP, director of integrated studios, expanding the agency’s content development capabilities for digital-first, high volume assets, and maker-forward content. In his newly created position, Gutenberg will support the embrace of emerging tech and AI across the agency, while integrating several studios into a single operation and driving new partnerships. Previously, he spent nearly a decade at Wellcom Worldwide, culminating in his role as managing director of thelab.

Gary Pascoe will step into the newly added role of EVP, executive creative director after a decade as the chief creative officer at Commonwealth\\McCann. He recently worked as a professor of advertising at Michigan State University and previously held creative positions at BBDO Worldwide and TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Leave a Reply