SAN FRANCISCO — Hotwire senior leader Heather Kernahan has been promoted to CEO of North America, the first person to hold that role since Barbara Bates was upped to global CEO more than two years ago.

Kernahan most recently was Hotwire’s president of North America and Australia, as which she is credited with driving Hotwire’s regional growth. As CEO, she will continue overseeing strategy for Hotwire’s North American business and Australia, which Hotwire expanded into in July when it merged with Enero sister agency Precinct.

“Heather is the driving force behind making sure Hotwire is the best agency you’ll ever work with,” Bates said. “Heather’s limitless leadership in tackling the challenges and opportunities of a fast-growing business is something to celebrate. Not to mention all her contributions to the global organization. Heather constantly thinks about what’s next and has inspired our team to think further into the future. I could not ask for a better partner to lead the business.”

Hotwire has not had a North America CEO since May 2017, when Barbara Bates was promoted from North America to global CEO.

Bates and Kernahan both joined Hotwire in 2016, when the London-based agency bought Bates' West Coast tech firm Eastwick. At that time, Bates and Kernahan, who was also at Eastwick, retained their CEO, North America and president roles.