Lisa Frank Named CEO of Derris

Derris, the public relations agency synonymous with the direct-to-consumer boom, has named co-founder Lisa Frank as CEO, taking over the chief executive role from her co-founder Jesse Derris.

“I’ve been here since the beginning, but we [Derris and Frank] both have evolved,” Frank told BoF. “This gives us new exciting ways to continue to be challenged. I’m staying here, but I’m able to evolve my own role.”

Derris, meanwhile, will move into the new position of chief strategy officer at Orchestra, Derris’ newly rebranded parent company, where he’ll focus on strategic direction, M&A and more, and will continue to serve as chair at Derris.

“Lisa has been my partner since day one and preparing to take this role for many years,” he told BoF in a statement. “I’ve always been incredibly proud of what we built together, but Derris will be a better company with Lisa as its CEO.”

Derris, which was founded in 2013, built a name in fashion for its work with early direct-to-consumer companies like Glossier and Warby Parker. Its approach to public relations went beyond what fashion PR firms had traditionally handled, focussing more on building a brand’s identity, including visuals.

The agency was acquired by PR and marketing firm BerlinRosen in August 2022 for an undisclosed sum, deepening that agency’s reach in the consumer brands sector. Frank’s appointment to the CEO role comes at the same time that BerlinRosen Holdings, which owns seven other agencies besides Derris, has rebranded as Orchestra, a name that refers to the fact that the eight agencies are “all different players that are really working in concert together,” Frank said.

Though Derris built its name working with DTC brands, it’s since expanded its purview, and has worked with major brands including Google and Nike. Still, the DTC sector remains a key part of the business, with clients such as Reformation and Bombas. It saw double-digit revenue growth in 2023.

The DTC sector, of course, has gone through many shifts since Derris’ founding in 2013. Today, many one-time stand-out players, like Everlane, have lost their early momentum and are experimenting with new ways to grow sales. But Frank said that Derris’ playbook remains rooted in the same fundamental questions.

“We continue to just tell stories, figure out what’s your positioning, what’s your differentiator?” said Frank. “A lot of agencies can tend to be transactional, and we are highly opinionated, I’d say in a good way. We really want to focus on what are we saying, and what’s worth saying.”

Learn more:

Derris Sells Majority Stake

PR and marketing agency BerlinRosen recently invested in the New York-based agency, founded in 2013 and known for playing a strategic role in launching and marketing several leading brands.

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