Chris Tussing

Chris Tussing

Chief Marketing Officer & President at Merge
Chicago, United States

About me

Chris has been a trusted marketing partner for 20+ years. He’s helped launch brands as well as revitalize long-established but declining ones. He’s worked with several major Fortune 500’s like Clorox, Wrigley, Mars and Anheuser-Busch as well as mid-sized companies and startups. He is an expert in brand positioning and strategy, and having worked at a number of multi-national companies including DDB and BBDO, is also a proven leader in the development of fully integrated communications programs. Now President of design and digital agency Merge Design + Interactive, Chris is focused on providing the strategy, vision and direction to accelerate the Chicago shop’s growth and helping clients use design thinking and technology to transform their brands and customer relationships.

Specialties: Reinvigorating stagnant brands, strategic planning, distilling mountains of information into actionable insight, developing compelling strategies, integrating consumer communications, managing complex businesses and brand portfolios, leading across departments and companies, unleashing creative talent, having fun while working hard, and crafting statements that begin with verbs.

Sector Experience

Positions

President
Chicago, United States
January 2018 - Present (4 months)
Chris focuses on growing the agency, using our uncommon capabilities to help clients transform brands and strengthen customer relationships. He sets the strategy and direction for working as a unified network across our offices.

Chris is the ultimate ultra-business athlete. He brings to work each day the grit and tenacity he’s honed as a competitive runner and cyclist. He loves living outside the comfort zone, and uses his agility and passion to drive companies forward. He has helped launch start-ups as well as revitalize brands – from mid-sized companies to Fortune 500s.
Chief Marketing Officer
Merge World
United States
March 2017 - Present (1 year 2 months)
Chris is the Chief Marketing Officer and is a member of the operating board of MERGE, a unified agency network with uncommon capabilities in strategy, creativity and technology. With offices in Chicago, Atlanta and Boston, MERGE was formed by rebranding Myelin Communications five companies: Partners + Simons, HY Connect, Merge Design + Interactive, Dodge Communications, and AVID Design. It also includes HYC Health, a fast-growing integrated communications agency that delivers customized solutions to global pharmaceutical, life sciences, diagnostic and biotech industries. MERGE network employs 300 communication experts.
Mentor
1871
United States
July 2016 - Present (1 year 10 months)
Marketing, strategy and communications mentor to help the 1871 community make Chicago one of the most desirable cities in the world for innovative companies.
President
Merge Design + Interactive
United States
March 2015 - March 2017 (2 years)
Global Business Director
New York, United States
January 2013 - March 2015 (2 years 2 months)
Returned to the DDB family, joining the New York office as Global Business Director. Ran global Reebok business, global MARS Petcare, USGA as well as multiple global new business pitches. Member of the New York office Executive Leadership Team.
Contractor, VP of Creative Services
Kraft Foods Group
United States
November 2012 - December 2012 (1 month)
Led development of a new curriculum for the Marketing Training Program designed to help Kraft continue on its path to transform as a marketing organization.
Account Managing Director
Chicago, United States
January 2012 - October 2012 (9 months)
Brands: Anheuser-Busch InBev (Bud Light)
Managing Director
Chicago, United States
January 2010 - January 2012 (2 years)
Brands: Anheuser-Busch InBev (Michelob Ultra, Michelob Craft, Innovation), Blockbuster, Cracker Barrel, OfficeMax, Learning Curve (The First Years)
Partner
Downtown Partners Chicago
United States
October 2005 - December 2009 (4 years 2 months)
I not only love working in the business, I love working on the business through general management responsibilities.

Brands: Northwestern Mutual, Kellogg School of Management, University of Chicago Medical Center, New Business
Group Account Director
San Francisco, United States
October 2003 - October 2005 (2 years)
People can accomplish great things when you arm them with a vision, support and the opportunity to stretch. Partnering with VP of Marketing, led the reinvigoration of Clorox’s core but long-declining $2 billion Laundry & Home Care Division.

Brands: Clorox Laundry and Homecare Division (All Clorox branded products, Tilex, Soft Scrub, Liquid Plumr, Pine Sol, Formula 409)
VP, Account Director
Chicago, United States
1998 - 2003 (5 years)
First experienced the thrill of turning conventional thinking on its head, and in doing so, turned long-declining brands around. Saw the power of relating to consumers rather than talking at them.

Brands: Wrigley (Doublemint, Spearmint, Juicy Fruit, Extra, Big Red, Winterfresh, Eclipse)
Account Supervisor
San Francisco, United States
June 1996 - October 1998 (2 years 4 months)
It’s not just the early bird that gets the worm, but the one who joins the hunt. While still at a junior level, I took ownership of my businesses and made an impact beyond my years of experience.

Brands: Clorox (Clorox Clean Up, Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaners, Clorox Disinfecting Spray)
Assistant Account Executive
Chicago, United States
1994 - 1996 (2 years)
Learned that I am not one to blindly follow the herd and endorse group think. And, that I need a culture that embraces this.

Brands: Miller Brewing Company (Lowenbrau, Sharps, Reserve, New Products) Kraft Foods (Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Singles)

Education

BA in Economics, Minor in Music Recording

1988 - 1992 (4 years)

Havas Leadership Executive Education Program

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