VaynerMedia hires Adyen vet Eric Jacobs as first chief innovation officer

Eric Jacobs
Eric Jacobs

Jacobs will report to CEO Gary Vaynerchuk, who pledged to hire more BIPOC candidates by June.

VaynerMedia has hired Eric Jacobs as the digital agency’s first chief innovation officer, it said Thursday.

Jacobs will build a suite of innovation products and offerings for clients, form viewpoints around emerging technologies and build infrastructure for innovation. Jacobs will also implement digital transformation strategies for clients.

“I see opportunities for innovation that will build on the only metric that matters at VaynerMedia — creating business results for our clients,” Jacobs told Campaign US. “I believe we have an opportunity to take innovation to the next level of impact by delivering results beyond just advertising.”

Jacobs added that he was drawn to VaynerMedia’s “people-first” mentality and “forward-thinking” approach to business.

“In every aspect of the business, the agency is thinking about what’s of the now, what’s next and how these trends can transform our clients’ businesses,” he said. “Experimentation, embracing technology and thinking outside of the box are in the company’s DNA, and we’re looking forward to leaning further into those core strengths.”

Jacobs will resume the role effective immediately and will report directly to CEO Gary Vaynerchuk.

“While searching for our first chief innovation officer, it was important to bring in someone who can apply the very latest thinking in the innovation landscape to our clients,” Vaynerchuk said in a press statement. “After meeting with Eric, it was evident that he was the right person for this role. As someone who thinks outside the box and is truly passionate about building brands in culture, Eric has an enormous amount of knowledge in this space while also capturing the qualities of being an impeccable leader. I'm excited to have Eric on board.”

In his first year, Jacobs hopes to centralize VaynerMedia’s “existing insights around innovation, develop complementary novel ones and turn them into transformative offerings that our clients love.”

Jacobs was previously SVP of business development at payment platform Adyen, where he led strategic expansion across retail, platforms/marketplaces and quick service restaurants and worked with merchants such as Tiffany & Co., Instacart and Burger King. 

Other recent shifts in the VaynerMedia team include Gabriela Fenton, who was appointed managing director of VaynerMedia’s recently launched LATAM office in May, and Lisa Buckley, who was promoted to managing director of VaynerMedia Los Angeles in June.

Jacobs’ hiring comes six months after Vaynerchuk missed his own deadline to add two Black leaders to VaynerMedia’s C-suite by January. In February, a VaynerMedia spokesperson told Adweek that Vaynerchuk broadened his pledge to BIPOC candidates, rather than specifically Black candidates, to fill the three new C-Suite positions by June 1.


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