Announcing Our New CEO

Local Projects names Whitney Rutter as its Chief Executive Officer, as Jake Barton transitions to Founder & Chief Creative Officer


New York City, NY: Local Projects has named Whitney Rutter as its Chief Executive Officer, and Jake Barton as Founder & Chief Creative Officer. This news comes after a banner 18 months for Local Projects, during which it opened five new institutions on three continents and won Fast Company’s 2021 Design Company of the Year and Best Design in North America Awards.

Rutter joined the firm five years ago with extensive experience within the visual arts, cultural, and technology sectors. As Managing Director and head of new business, Rutter has been instrumental in the growth and transformation of the studio’s creative leadership, global efforts, and the broadening and diversification of the studio’s capabilities. 

“I’m honored to lead such a talented and passionate team, especially at a moment when we have such inspirational projects in the studio and on the horizon,” says Rutter. “The studio has always been driven by pushing boundaries and it is an exciting time to be at the center of transforming culture.”

Barton echoed Rutter’s enthusiasm: “Local Projects core mission to create world-changing experiences that deliver innovation and meaning has been advanced by Whitney’s vision and execution skills. She is the rare partner whose exceptional leadership and management skills come from a place of genuine love for the work, the staff, and all of our clients.”

Alexei Orlov, Founder and CEO of MTM, parent owner of Local Projects, also had praise to offer for both Rutter and Barton’s new roles:

“Local Projects is quite rightly respected as one of the world’s premier go-to agencies, known for exceptional empathetic design and meaningful content. We owe this reputation to Jake Barton’s leadership and, of course, his remarkable team. 

We are so pleased that Jake has agreed to stay on as Founder & Chief Creative Officer and to continue the outstanding partnership with Whitney as she steps into the role of CEO.

Whitney is not only an accomplished practitioner with great operational common sense – she’s also truly a highly attuned leader who deeply cares not only for the work product, but for the people who create it. 

It is a joy to see such a natural and well -earned progression and I know that together with Jake and the remarkable team that she is already working with, the next chapter in the story of Local Projects will be exciting and rewarding –  for our clients and for the dedicated group of professionals who together create the magic known and experienced the world over.”


Local Projects is a multi-disciplinary design studio with two decades of experience in culture, educational, and corporate experience design, and has won every major award including the Cannes Gold Lion, Fast Company’s  Design Studio of the Year and Best Design in North America Awards, the National Design Award, and the Overall Excellence in Exhibitions from the American Alliance of Museums. 

PRESS CONTACT: Benjamin Millstein, Senior Communications & Marketing Manager, Local Projects. p: 212.480.0479. e: