Ken Hanson, founder and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based advertising agency Hanson Dodge, is leaving the company.
Hanson, 65, sold his half of the agency back to the company on Jan. 1 and the company finalized the details at the end of June. His business partner of 27 years, Tim Dodge, 57, will take over as CEO. While partner and chief strategy officer Mike Stefaniak is also a shareholder, Dodge is now the majority owner of Hanson Dodge, which will retain its name. The parties declined to disclose the sale terms.
“Ken and I have been working on the transition for this for several years,” Dodge said. “We’ve been working for a number of years rounding out and strengthening up the leadership team in general to get ready for the next wave of where we’re going with the business.”
Hanson established the firm, originally called Hanson Graphic, out of his home 35 years ago. It now has 50 employees and has built its business around full-integrated marketing for active lifestyle brands such as Trek Bicycle, Wilson Sporting Goods and Wolverine Boots. The company has recently been expanding into adjacent markets such as consumer packaged goods and health care organizations, Dodge said.
“I’m very excited about the firm’s future and couldn’t be more confident in Tim’s leadership and his wonderful team,” Hanson said.
Hanson, who will consult for Hanson Dodge as needed, now plans to focus on Greater Together, a nonprofit he founded in 2014 to promote social and economic equality in Milwaukee by bringing young people of color into the largely white creative industries in the city. He also plans to create a documentary about famed photographer Art Shay.
“For the past 35 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to get up every day and leverage the power of design to make the world around me better. That’s not going to change,” Hanson said.