A startup marketing and advertising agency already with three U.S. offices views Northwest Arkansas as its next critical market. It has recruited an established Benton County executive to bolster those efforts.
CourtAvenue, a digital consultancy and product development company launched in January 2020, added to its senior leadership team recently by hiring Jeannine Wheeler of Rogers as chief financial officer.
Wheeler’s history with CourtAvenue CEO Michael Stich and co-founder Kenny Tomlin dates back over a decade to their days at Rogers digital agency Rockfish, started by Tomlin in 2005. He eventually sold the business in 2011 to WPP Ventures, where he served as CEO until 2017.
Stich held several leadership titles at Rockfish, including CEO. Wheeler was senior vice president of finance and accounting, overseeing all finance activities, including business planning, budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting and negotiations.
CourtAvenue co-founder Dan Khabie’s background includes the launch of San Diego-based digital marketing agency Digitaria, which was acquired by WPP’s JWT in 2010, rolled up with a few other similar agencies and rebranded as Mirum. As CEO, Khabie oversaw leadership of Mirum’s entire 2,500-person global digital agency network, which included offices in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Kahbie and Tomlin were colleagues from at WPP, which ultimately came to own both Mirum and Rockfish.
Wheeler has since held senior finance roles at VMLY&R and Advantage Solutions, where her experience included:
- Creating and providing strategic recommendations on new business models.
- Managing profitability for clients like Walmart and Sam’s Club.
- Implementing strategies and systems to improve financial performance, in conjunction with overseeing all financial decisions.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Kenny and Michael again,” Wheeler said. “Given all of our experiences with Rockfish, VML and VMLY&R [as well as post experiences], we are bringing new ways of working with a smarter, more efficient and strategic approach to providing innovative solutions to clients.”
Wheeler launched her career at KPMG in 2006 after attaining both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri. The Northwest Arkansas Business Journal included her in the publication’s 2011 Fast 15 class.
“Everything I have learned throughout my career in the public accounting and agency environments has given me the ability to be well prepared for the CFO role of CourtAvenue,” she said. “I am a lifelong learner, and this role will allow me to be challenged as we entertain domestic and international expansion.
CourtAvenue has offices in Cincinnati; Austin, Texas; and San Diego. A company spokeswoman said that as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, Wheeler — the company’s first Northwest Arkansas employee — will build out the finance team and set up account delivery teams to support the region.
“Northwest Arkansas will absolutely be a critical market for CourtAvenue along with San Diego, Austin, Cincinnati and others,” Wheeler said. “There is a significant amount of talent in this area, and we are looking forward to providing a positive impact on the local community.”