Meet Jon Cook
Global CEO of VMLY&R and Forward Thinker
Jon became the global CEO of VMLY&R on Sept. 26, 2018. The new agency—combining leading brands VML and Y&R — created a global marketing force with 7,000 employees and principal offices in Kansas City, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. On Oct. 24, 2018, the Sudler U.S. network—one of the industry’s most respected healthcare practices—became part of VMLY&R.
Prior to leading VMLY&R, Jon served as VML global CEO since 2011. He joined the agency in 1996, and during his tenure VML grew from 30 employees in Kansas City, Missouri, to more than 3,000 employees across six continents.
Jon helped lead VML to Advertising Age A-List honors—which recognizes the industry’s top 10 most influential and impactful agencies—each of the past three years (2016-2018). VML was named Entertainment Agency of the Year the last two years at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and was recognized by Forrester and Gartner for expertise in digital marketing.
Jon embodies VML’s commitment to be our clients’ most important partner—creating connected brands with creativity, technology and data at the core. He works tirelessly to bring brands closer to consumers, customers closer to communities and communities closer to the world.
VMLY&R is proud to serve some of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, including Bridgestone, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Electrolux/Frigidaire, Ford, Microsoft, the U.S. Navy, Office Depot, Pfizer, the U.S. Census, United Rentals and Wendy’s.
In 2017, Jon helped guide VML through the certification process with the 3% Movement—an organization that champions female creative leadership, diversity and inclusion—and VML became one of the industry’s first 3% Certified agencies.
Jon was named one of the 100 People Who Make Advertising Great by the 4A’s in 2017. He was also recognized as the Advertising Professional of the Year by the American Advertising Federation-Kansas City (AAF-KC) in 2014, and was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award program in 2012.
A leading advocate of the VML Foundation, the agency’s employee-funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit community service organization, Jon serves on the advisory board. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, and a board member of the Head for the Cure Foundation, a national organization dedicated to discovering cures for brain cancer.
Jon graduated from the University of Missouri in 1993 with a Bachelor of Journalism. In May 2018, Jon delivered the commencement address at the Missouri School of Journalism graduation ceremony. He relishes spending time with his wife, Lisa, and their three daughters. The family especially enjoys hiking together.
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Jon discuss the experience of leading a global advertising and marketing agency with nearly 7,000 employees across six continents. Along this journey, Jon and his leadership team have operated among the most diverse range of cultures and customs imaginable. By investing in education and unique leadership opportunities, VMLY&R nurtures an ever diverse workforce and pipeline of leaders who embody an inclusive DNA. At a time when media and messaging landscapes are historically fragmented, learn how VMLY&R helps brands resonate creatively and culturally — conveying relevance and value on an increasingly personal level.