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Chute Gerdeman Bolsters Executive Leadership: Christopher Barcelona is New Chief Innovation and Growth Officer

Press Release - Columbus, 16 September 2019

Barcelona joins Gerdeman, recent promotions of Highland and Johnson as company further integrates with FCB/RED 

Chute Gerdeman – a globally recognized leader in retail innovation, strategy, design and implementation – today announced a newly robust executive leadership team, including the appointment of Christopher Barcelona as chief innovation and growth officer (CIGO). In addition to Barcelona,Jay Highland andWendy Johnson will take on expanded roles within the executive leadership team, charged with driving business growth and further evolving the agency’s partnership with FCB/RED. 

“Chris is a dynamic powerhouse that understands all facets of modern retail experience,” said FCB/RED President Tina Manikas. “His leadership will certainly take our strategic product and capabilities to a whole new level.”

The new leadership reflects Chute Gerdeman’s business growth plans and positions the agency to meet evolving client demands and shopper expectations. The agency is transforming to bridge digital and physical experiences, connecting brands to shoppers in any space of the retail landscape. 

“We are in one of the most fast-paced, hyper-complex moments in Chute Gerdeman’s 30-year history,” said Chute Gerdeman Chairman Denny Gerdeman. “With this new executive leadership, we are able to develop solutions that are as nimble as the retail environment is today – not only keeping up with client demands, but evolving our partnership and collaboration.” 

As CIGO, Barcelona will lead the identification and development of service offerings that complement and expand existing capabilities, working to innovate and reinvent the consumer experience at every touchpoint. Informing and elevating Chute Gerdeman’s award-winning creative, Barcelona will partner with the executive team to develop and implement growth frameworks that amplify insight-driven strategies across retail ecosystems, including digital retail integration, ecommerce and social media projects. 

“I’m honored to be joining the talented and dynamic teams at Chute Gerdeman and FCB/RED,” said Barcelona. “The commitment to continuing to evolve our value proposition and deliver immersive experiences that seamlessly combine physical and digital – and create meaningful connections for our clients’ customers to their brands – is one I’m truly excited to be a part of.”

With more than 25 years of experience, Barcelona brings a blend of agency and client mindset to his new role with Chute Gerdeman. His passion for creating, fueling and driving highly engaging customer experiences makes him a driving force for change in the industry. As a former Associate Partner and the North American Digital Lead for Retail, Consumer Products, and Travel/Transportation at IBM iX, he helped to define and deliver the latest digital customer experiences – leveraging those experiences to meet business objectives by bridging smart strategic thinking with creative that moves the audience to action. Barcelona has led successful programs for a diverse and distinguished client list including Nike, Reebok, Mattel, Kohl’s, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Restoration Hardware, EXPRESS and Target.

Jay Highlandhas been appointed chief creative officer and managing director of Chute Gerdeman, and ECD of Brand Experience at FCB. While continuing to vigorously lead and elevate creative within Chute Gerdeman, Highland will spearhead efforts to advance creative integration with FCB and its diverse client roster, and will collaborate with executive leadership to provide strategic direction, set the tone and vision for the agency and drive the business forward. 

Highland has more than 25 years of design experience, including 16 years with Chute Gerdeman. He has been instrumental in championing Chute Gerdeman’s core capabilities and building the agency’s diverse creative teams. Always challenging the status quo, he is a consummate retail design authority, and has been a featured speaker at numerous conferences and events. Recently named one of design:retail’s Retail Design Influencers, his work leading creative teams for accounts such as FAO Schwarz, Target and Xfinity has propelled Chute Gerdeman to be regarded as one of the top design agencies in the world. 

Wendy Johnsoncontinues to serve as Chute Gerdeman’s chief operating officer and EVP of Program Management. In addition to overseeing agency operations, Johnson will lead the Implementation business segment, driving the development and activation of go-to-market strategies to grow the existing design-centered scaled implementation. 

With more than 25 years of experience, Johnson provides oversight to all business operations, finance, team planning and implementation. She is at once the voice of the client, hands-on creative team member and high-level strategic manager, expertly visioning and activating teams for our most complex clients. She makes an art form of seamlessly keeping priorities, projects, budgets, timelines and client objectives in perfect alignment. Working closely with clients like Krispy Kreme, Mars and FAO Schwarz, Johnson leads her teams through a collaborative approach and expertly navigates the process to make Chute Gerdeman’s designs become a reality. 


About Chute Gerdeman

Chute Gerdeman is a global leader in retail innovation, experience, and design. A division of FCB/RED, we create and deliver shopper-centric retail marketing and connected physical branded experiences for a diverse array of consumer-facing brands. With 30 years of industry accolades, including “Design Firm of the Year” and four “Store of the Year” awards, Chute Gerdeman is widely recognized as one of the most respected retail design agencies in the world. Learn more at and follow us on social media. (Twitter: @ChuteGerdeman, Instagram: @Chute_Gerdeman)


FCB/RED is an award-winning, top-ranked retail agency specializing in shopper marketing, brand engagement, environmental design and digital to physical commerce. From innovation to implementation, FCB/RED provides strategic perspective and 360º tactical breadth to ignite the shopper experience. FCB/RED acquired top-ranked environmental design firm Chute Gerdeman, and together they exist to improve the lives of shoppers by offering world-class, seamless solutions that address the needs and desires of today’s in-control, omnichannel shopper.