GREENSBORO, N.C., December 16, 2019 – After more than 38 years in the marketing communications business, SFW president Peter Mitchell announced he is retiring from the day-to-day operations at the firm as of the end of 2019. Mitchell will remain on staff as Senior Advisor and will retain his minority ownership interest.
Mitchell, with business partners Ged King and Matt King, has grown SFW over the past six years to 60 full-time employees in the company’s Greensboro and Raleigh offices. The agency more than doubled its revenue between 2016-2018 and was named one of Adweek’s Top 100 Fastest-Growing Agencies in the World in 2019. Mitchell was President and CEO of Winston-Salem based The Woodbine Agency, which was acquired by The Sales Factory in January 2014.
“The only full-time job I’ve ever had is working for a marketing agency,” Mitchell said at an internal retirement celebration. “And though I still love our business and working at SFW, one of the most important decisions you can make during your career is knowing when to hang up the cleats.”
Mitchell, 62, keeps Theodore Roosevelt’s The Man In The Arena speech in his office for inspiration. “There are other arenas, like teaching at Wake Forest University, that I really enjoy and want to devote more time to over the next several years,” Mitchell says. He plans to continue living in Winston-Salem with Susan, his wife of 33 years.
Mitchell has been an Adjunct Professor of Practice at WFU since 2009 in the Communications and Journalism Departments and in the School of Business. He teaches 2-3 classes each semester, including courses such as Writing for PR & Advertising, Advanced Campaign Development, Marketing Strategy & Planning, and Marketing Research. He loves to guide, mentor and help students secure internships and full-time jobs in the marketing, advertising, and PR industry. “My goal every semester,” Mitchell recently said, “is to inspire students to love our business enough that they want to become part of it.”
“Peter is one of the most versatile marketing and advertising pros I’ve ever met,” said SFW’s CEO Ged King. “He can guide an account, build a client relationship, develop positioning and strategy, contribute to campaign development, inspire the staff and then write the handshake letter that helps the company win new business. Peter is a good friend, and he will be missed.”
Mitchell coined SFW’s agency tagline, Where Brands Win, and developed its proprietary branding tool, The Brand Fingerprint™, which has helped more than 100 companies uncover their one-of-a-kind brand essence as a springboard to executing effective marketing campaigns. In 2008, Mitchell was awarded the American Federation of Advertising's Silver Medal for Outstanding Career Contributions to the Marketing Community.
In 2001, Mitchell established the Andrea Mitchell Metzler Award For Marketing Excellence, which is given to an outstanding Wake Forest University School of Business marketing student in memory of his sister, a WFU MBA School graduate who passed away. The family has now honored 19 students with this annual cash award.
King indicated that a new organization structure for SFW will be announced in early 2020.
Peter Mitchell – Career at a glance:
After graduating from Lexington (N.C.) Senior High School, Mitchell received his BA, with Honors, in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1979 and his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, in 1981. From there he went directly to Madison Avenue in New York City where he worked for Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, Jordan McGrath Case & Taylor and Saatchi & Saatchi, rising to the position of Executive Vice President, Group Account Director. Mitchell has supervised accounts such as Cheerios, Reynolds Wrap, Hefty, Life Cereal, Quaker Oats, Gatorade, and Pepperidge Farms.
In October 2000, Mitchell was recruited ‘home’ to Winston-Salem to join Long Haymes Carr (LHC) as Executive Vice President of Account Management. Four months later, in January 2001, LHC merged with Mullen Advertising and Mitchell’s position was eliminated.
Fortunately for Mitchell, the owners of The Woodbine Agency, Maureen Hall and Roseann Rush, contacted him and hired him as a consultant. He was hired full time in April 2001, became a partner in 2002, president and COO in 2006 and president, CEO 2009.
During his 13 years at Woodbine, Mitchell transformed the company from a local creative services company into a full-service brand revitalization agency with regional, national and global clients such as Lowe’s Home Improvement, Ekornes Stressless, Fruit of the Loom, Lowes Foods and Blue Rhino. Woodbine’s work for Piedmont Federal Savings Bank earned the agency a national EFFIE award for Marketing Effectiveness.