Oxford Road Fortifies Executive Team – Appoints Steven Abraham as President, Brings on Kraig Kitchin and Jennifer Laine
Multiple appointments come as agency expands media client base, capabilities, and undertakes large-scale purpose driven initiatives
Oxford Road, a leading agency in audio and spoken word media, announced three key additions to its executive team, as the company enters a new phase of growth and charts an expanded course of industry innovation and new initiatives. Widely respected global agency veteran Steven Abraham joins Oxford Road as its new President. Audio industry veteran and pioneer Kraig Kitchin joins as Strategic Advisor. Jennifer Laine, former fashion industry leader, president of an experiential learning company, and Oxford Road ally, formally joins the company to lead Marketing and key strategic initiatives.
“I’ve always subscribed to David Ogilvy’s notion that by hiring people bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants. By partnering with these three individuals of stunning reputation and talent, our company has never been positioned to reach even greater heights.” said Oxford Road Founder and CEO, Dan Granger. “Oxford Road launched in 2013 and quickly became one of the fastest-growing companies in America. In the last few years, we have focused on building a world class infrastructure and deepening our competitive advantage. We are now poised to win our category by enabling our clients to win theirs.”
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The appointments come at a time of notable expansion for the agency — with 50 active clients in 2020 achieving accelerated growth across thousands of media properties, it was time to call in the Big Guns. Granger continued, “As many companies slowed down this year, we made a conscious decision to speed up. These hires will allow us to stay Mission Focused, and provide the expertise to provide a world class offering to our clients. Steven has been a rising star in our field, being recognized as “40 Under 40” for his work in Europe and more recently an L.A. Adweek Allstar. His experience as a Managing Director with Mediacom and OMD will ensure that all of our clients receive the same level of sophistication in strategy and service as the largest brands in America. Under Steven’s leadership, we will help see through our next phase of growth and expand our capabilities as traditional media channels make their final shift into the digital age. We are grateful for his global agency pedigree, and most importantly his alignment with our Mission to provide best-in-market performance at maximum scale for our clients. And besides, everyone knows I’m a sucker for a British Accent.”
While the installation of Mr. Abraham as President immediately adds new horizontal capacities for the agency, it also fuels the critical march toward leadership and core capabilities in audio. Bolstering their position even further, Oxford Road welcomes Mr. Kraig Kitchen as Strategic Advisor. According to Granger, “Kraig has been a mentor to me since well before I started the agency, so I am deeply humbled that he will now be closely advising the team in a formal capacity.”
Kraig Kitchin is a living legend in audio. A co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, he led the network for 10 years to become the nation’s largest radio network measured by both annual revenues and audiences reached. Kitchin oversaw radio programming hosted by an all-star roster of personalities including Ryan Seacrest, Steve Harvey, Rush Limbaugh, Delilah, Jim Rome, Dr. Laura, Casey Kasem, George Noory, Bill Handel and scores of others. He was named one of the most Powerful People in Radio for ten consecutive years. Kitchin currently operates several businesses in partnership with top ranked and distinguished radio personalities. He is President of the talent management firm, SoundMind, with a focused effort toward managing the businesses of high-profile radio personalities and production companies.
Granger continues, “Kraig is not only immortalized on the Mount Rushmore of leaders in the audio field, he is one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. This is still very much a relationship business and Kraig’s guiding hand will ensure that we elevate our contributions to client, media and talent relationships beyond anything ever achieved by an agency. His involvement is a critical ingredient to achieve our ambition of being the absolute leader in the space.”
As Oxford Road’s core agency business continues to grow and strengthen, innovation remains a top priority including development of the firm’s proprietary ad scoring system, Audiolytics and pioneering work in the evolution of the Smart Speaker landscape. Granger is clear that the road ahead travels toward an expanded purpose, for which Ms. Laine will be instrumental. He noted, “Jennifer has been a brilliant collaborator in orchestrating an agency rebrand and partnering with us in the launch of work to extend our brand across the ecosystem. We’ve always been strong on substance, and now Jennifer’s contribution ensures we have equal strength in style. What’s more, she has made possible initiatives to further expand our mission as an organization and commitment to live out the idea of stakeholder capitalism during these turbulent times. In addition to helping establish Oxford Road’s podcasting arm and inaugural series, she is masterfully steering the ship on the undertakings we will reveal in the coming months. Stay tuned.”
Three Backgrounds of the Highest Order
Prior to joining Oxford Road, Mr. Abraham was a Managing Director of OMD USA. He has served other posts as Managing Director EVP of MediaCom LA, Global Client Director at Mediacom Global, VP of Media and Advertising Universal Pictures International and is currently a strategic business development advisor to Orfium, a leading software development business in the online content rights management space. An accomplished international media professional with 25 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry, his varied agency and company roles and responsibilities have ranged from planning, developing and implementing global multi-million dollar through-the line campaigns on behalf of multinational companies.
“I’ve been impressed by Dan’s style and approach and the way he has led the agency. Oxford Road is a hidden gem” said Abraham. “This is a very attractive, appealing opportunity for me to come in and help a team of extremely smart practitioners in media, in a specific space, and enable them to spread their wings into other kinds of media environments, whether that be digital, analog, or any of the emerging platforms that are out there. Furthermore, it’s the agency’s concept of ‘influence’ that resonates here.The aim of adding the element of influence in the messages to consumers that they want to reach, toward helping behavioral changes that are ultimately going to be better for them within the communication that they consumers and getting involved within the conversation rather than just implementing somewhat traditional, two-dimensional advertising. That guiding principle at Oxford Road is attractive to me.”
Oxford Road’s newest strategic advisor, Mr. Kitchin, continues to operate several businesses in partnership with top ranked and distinguished radio personalities. Among other ongoing endeavors, he acts as co-President of Big Shoes Productions, Inc., a radio programming production company, owned by radio host, Delilah and is co-President of the talent management firm, Sound Mind, with a focused effort towards managing the businesses of high profile radio personalities. He is Chairman of the National Radio Hall of Fame.
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Kitchin added, “From day one, Dan Granger and the team at Oxford Road have been genuinely committed to client success. There’s not a time that I have been with any of the team members where I have just not felt this sense of urgency and this sense of competitiveness to want to come through for the client. It’s pure. There’s no distraction.They are entirely geared towards, ‘How do we do great work for clients?’”
Ms. Laine has formally joined the company to oversee strategic marketing and business development in addition to the critical aforementioned initiatives. These include producing “Oxford Road Presents,” namely its limited run series currently in progress, “The Divided States of Media,” focuses on the current polarized state of media as they, and the brands who support them, deal with programming and policy decisions against a backdrop of an increasingly divided populace as well as the culmination of this series, an initiative expected to debut in the weeks to follow the election, Media Roundtable. This initiative soon to be announced is in partnership with the National Institute for Civil Discourse and Ad Fontes Media, creator of the Media Bias Chart.
“With such a long-standing regard for Dan, the agency and their visionary and totally effective ways, the timing is perfect for my officially joining the team at Oxford Road,” Laine shared. “The strategic marketing work is fundamental. But, it’s the expanded vision for business, media partnerships and cultural impact that we expect to make the media industry safer for brands, and better for consumers. And therefore the daily lives of our audiences who we all ultimately serve.”
Granger concludes, “With the partnership now complete with these three individuals of unparalleled talent, experience and character, there is now only one thing left to do: Win.”