VCU Brandcenter Names John B. Adams Jr. to Head Board of Directors

Adams Succeeds Mike Hughes as Chairman after 20 Years of Leadership

The Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter announced today that John Adams, 40-year advertising veteran and chairman of The Martin Agency, has taken on the role of chairman of the VCU Brandcenter’s Board of Directors. Adams succeeds his lifelong business partner and the president of The Martin Agency, Mike Hughes, in this role after his 20 years of leadership at the Brandcenter.

Together Adams, the Brandcenter board, faculty and the school’s director, Helayne Spivak, will provide a plan to take the school to the next level in providing top talent for agencies, clients and brands.

“This was a very important role for us to fill,” said Spivak, named director of the Brandcenter in August 2012. “As I’m still relatively new to my position, it was important to me to find someone who, like Mike, was here at the Brandcenter’s inception. John was my first choice for this role and a unanimous favorite of our board for his ability to bring the board continuity and a great vision for the Brandcenter’s future.”

In his time as an executive leader at Martin, Adams was at the helm of the agency’s most robust growth period, winning clients including GEICO, Walmart, Pizza Hut and Discover Card, among others. Adams and Hughes were featured on the cover of Adweek in 2010 when The Martin Agency was named U.S. Agency of the Year.

“I’m thrilled about being able to work with such a superb graduate school, such a distinguished board and such a brilliant director in Helayne Spivak,” said Adams. “Both the past and the potential of the Brandcenter are extraordinary.”

Hughes has taken on a new role as chairman emeritus with the Brandcenter’s Advisory Board, joining the ranks of fellow industry legends Lee Clow, Jeff Goodby, John Hegarty, Michael Roth and Dan Wieden.

“The Brandcenter has never been shy about its ambition to provide the best education in the rapidly changing world of advertising,” Hughes said. “I’m especially proud of my part in helping to bring Helayne and John to these positions. I can’t imagine two better people to lead the changes and advances ahead. The students, faculty and the industry should all feel very good about this. My 34-year partnership with John and my 20-year relationship with the Brandcenter have been two of the highlights of my career. I envy their opportunity to help define the future of this business and the future of advertising and branding education.”

The Brandcenter Board of Directors, in addition to Adams and Spivak, includes Allison Arden, vice president and publisher, Advertising Age; Brian Collins, chairman and chief creative officer, COLLINS; Earl Cox, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, The Martin Agency; Susan Credle, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett USA; David Droga, founder and creative chairman, Droga5; Augusta Duffey, executive creative director, Gannett; Bob Greenberg, chairman, chief executive officer and global chief commercial officer, R/GA; Diane Jackson, executive vice president and director of integrated production, DDB Chicago; Louis Jones, chief executive officer, Maxus, North America; Jim Joseph, president, North America, Cohn & Wolfe Headquarters; Jon Kamen, chairman and chief executive officer, @Radical Media; Gareth Kay, chief strategy officer and associate partner, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Dave Knox, chief marketing officer, Rockfish Interactive; Paul Lavoie, chairman and co-founder, Taxi; Vicki Lins, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Clear Channel Outdoor; Joseph McCarthy, former chief executive officer, Publicis New York; Jonathan Mildenhall, vice president of global advertising strategy and content excellence, The Coca-Cola Company; Matt Miller, president and chief executive officer, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP); Ty Montague, co-chief executive officer, Co Collective; Kevin Proudfoot, co-executive creative director, Google Creative Lab; Dick Robertson, former executive, Warner Bros.; Matthew J. Scheckner, president and chief executive officer, Stillwell Partners, and executive director, Advertising Week; Jerry Shereshewsky, chief grown-up, Grown Up Marketing; Jeff Steinhour, president/managing partner, Crispin Porter + Bogusky; Alain Sylvain, founder and chief executive officer, Sylvain Labs; Elizabeth Talerman, chief executive officer, Nucleus; and Rick Webb, consultant and mentor and venture partner.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

About the VCU Brandcenter

The Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter in Richmond, Virginia, is an innovative, two-year graduate program that brings the creative, strategic, business and technology sides of advertising and branding together. Our purpose is to develop the best creative problem solvers in the world. The Brandcenter offers a highly creative environment for students concentrating in five tracks: Copywriting, Art Direction, Strategy, Creative Brand Management and Experience Design. Students earn a Master of Science degree in Business/Branding. Brandcenter alums work at some of the best agencies in the world such as TBWA/Chiat Day, Barton F Graf 9000, Droga5, and Wieden + Kennedy, as well as on the client side helping to build brands such as Target, Apple, Urban Outfitters, Google, Nike, Coke, Facebook and Under Armour.
John Adams
John Adams