Movers and Shakers: GroupM, Facebook, Samsung, IAS and more

The mobile marketing industry is ever-changing, and that applies to the people as much as the technology. Movers & Shakers is our regular feature following the hottest hires in the industry, so you can keep track of who’s joined which company, and what they’re doing there.

Clockwise from top left: Karen Blackett, Nancy Killefer, Tracey T. Travis, James Kitto, Ed Morris, Elliott Millard, Dilpesh Parmar, Kristin Mason

Blackett replaces Georges as UK CEO of GroupM
GroupM has named Karen Blackett OBE as UK CEO, as Tom George steps down from the role he has held since 2018. Blackett’s appointment is effective beginning April 2020. She will lead GroupM’s operations in the country in addition to her role as WPP’s UK country manager.

In her new role, Blackett will be responsible for strategy and operations throughout the UK across GroupM’s agencies, including Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and m/Six. GroupM UK is the group’s third largest market, responsible for 43% of all UK media spend (source: COMvergence, 2019). She will be a champion of GroupM’s strategy to work with agency and GroupM leadership in the country, using its scale to provide more powerful and effective solutions for clients through the development of technology-enabled services.

“Karen has been an influential leader and change agent over the years, and we are thrilled to have her onboard,” said GroupM global CEO, Christian Juhl. “She is the perfect example of someone who brings to life our vision of making advertising work better for people. I also want to thank Tom George for all he’s done to help GroupM achieve the success it has seen during his time, both with GroupM and MEC.”

Blackett joined MediaCom in 1999, ascending to the role of chief operations officer in EMEA in 2008 and then UK CEO in 2011. After five years as CEO, she was promoted to chairwoman of MediaCom UK & Ireland. In 2018, she became the first UK country manager for WPP, responsible for delivering growth and attracting, developing and retaining the best and most diverse talent in WPP’s second largest market of 14,000 people across various brands, with revenue of $2 billion. She received her OBE in the Queens Birthday honours in 2014.

Throughout her career, Blackett has always been passionate about championing diversity of thought and celebrating difference in order to create dynamic, high-performing workplaces. Her focus has been to create inclusive work cultures where talent from any background can grow and thrive. She firmly believes that by fostering an inclusive culture where diversity of thought is encouraged, the pitfalls of groupthink can be avoided and, in contrast, fuel creativity.

In 2012, she launched MediaCom’s Apprenticeship Program for 18-24-year-olds, the first such program in the media industry to get government backing. Two years later, she launched a coaching course for women, in partnership with the organization Shine, to ensure the continued progression of talented women within the agency. This program went on to form the bedrock of GroupM and WPP’s Walk the Talk.

Since becoming WPP’s UK Country Manager in 2018, she has launched Your Bridge, a mentoring and reverse mentoring program in partnership with GroupM, encompassing 2,000 colleagues, and WPP Roots, a cultural inclusion program inspired by Ogilvy Roots that focuses on attracting and progressing multicultural talent within WPP, in addition to ensuring the work created for clients truly reflects modern Britain. WPP Roots now spans 26 operating brands in the UK and has been launched in other WPP markets.

“I’m honored to take on the role of UK CEO for GroupM and I want to thank Tom George for creating such a strong position for me to step into,” said Blackett. “This is an exciting time for the advertising industry, and I look forward to working with Demet and Christian to keep up the amazing pace GroupM has set in the UK I feel we’ve only just begun and see so much opportunity across our agencies.”

Killefer and Travis appointed to Facebook’s board
Facebook has appointed Nancy Killefer and Tracey T. Travis to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Killefer held a variety of leadership roles at McKinsey & Company over the span of three decades until her retirement in 2013, serving a multitude of companies across consumer, retail, restaurant and technology industries. Currently a member of the boards of Cardinal Health, Inc. (since 2015), Taubman Centers, Inc. (since 2019) and Natura & Company (since 2020), she previously served on the boards of Avon Products, Inc., National Trust for Historic Preservation, Partnership for Public Service, Computer Sciences Corporation, Advisory Board Company and CSRA, Inc.

She has also held various roles within the government, including Assistant Secretary for Management, chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the US Department of Treasury from 1997 to 2000. Killefer then served as a member of the IRS Oversight Board from 2000 to 2005, including as chair of the IRS Oversight Board from 2002 to 2004.
Travis is currently the executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Estée Lauder Companies, where she is responsible for global finance, accounting, investor relations, information technology, and strategy and new business development for the global manufacturer of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products.

Prior to joining The Estée Lauder Companies in 2012, she served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Ralph Lauren Corporation for seven years. She had previously served in a variety of senior financial, information technology and operations management roles at Limited Brands, Inc., American National Can and PepsiCo/Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. She began her career at General Motors Company as an engineer and senior financial analyst. Travis currently serves on the board of directors of Accenture plc (since 2017), and previously was a board member for Campbell Soup Company from 2011 to 2017.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “Nancy brings a great deal of private and public sector experience to this position. She’s held a number of senior roles in the US government and was a leader at McKinsey for many years. Tracey has a strong finance and corporate leadership background, not just in her role as CFO at The Estée Lauder Companies, but also serving on the board at Accenture. We have a lot we need to get done in the coming years and I think their experience is going to be very valuable. They’re both very accomplished business leaders and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

Kitto to head up UK & Ireland sales for Samsung
Samsung Electronics has promoted James Kitto to the role of UK & Ireland vice-president of sales. Previously sales director for UK & Ireland, he brings over 15 years of business and marketing experience to the role.

Having started his career in financial services, Kitto joined Nokia’s senior leadership team, where he played a key role in business transformation, before leaving to devote his time to growing several technology start-ups. Throughout his career, he has always been at the forefront of innovation. His distinctive skillset and passion for the smartphone sector has played a key role in his development as a leader.

Since joining Samsung in 2017 as sales director for the company’s mobile division in the UK and Ireland, he has built and led a hugely successful team and delivered significant business development across the mobile, tablet, wearable, audio and memory segments of the business. Under his leadership, Samsung UK & Ireland has delivered some of the most successful launches to date, including the release of Galaxy S10, Note10 and the Galaxy Watch, making Samsung the fastest growing UK watch brand.

He said: “I’m truly honoured by this appointment and excited by the opportunity to steer the development and growth of such an innovative business. The Samsung team brings together some of the brightest talent from across the industry and I’m looking forward to working together to deliver best-in-class products and experiences for our consumers.”

Integral Ad Science appoints Nadler to head up HR
Ad verification firm Integral Ad Science (IAS) has appointed Lisa Nadler as chief human resources officer. Nadler, who most recently served in the same role at Shutterstock, is a seasoned executive who will oversee human resources, recruiting and culture at IAS. She will be based in the New York office and will report directly to the CEO, Lisa Utzschneider.

She has a proven track record as a proactive change agent with the ability to identify problems, quickly act to resolve them, and drive forward momentum at all levels to achieve key goals and objectives. Throughout her career, she has built strategic programs focused on delivering business results, developing differentiated talent strategies, improving performance management, and changing and aligning culture to business strategy.

“It is amazing to join IAS at this pivotal growth stage. People are critical to the success of IAS and I am looking forward to partnering with the leadership team to develop an innovative and business-aligned HR strategy and to create a high-performing work culture where all talent can continue to develop and excel,” said Lisa Nadler, CHRO, IAS.

In her role at Shutterstock, she focused on attracting and developing the best talent and building a culture of engagement, agility, and innovation. Prior to that role, she held both HR and finance leadership positions at Citibank, Gartner, Madison Square Garden and Sotheby’s. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Mathematics from Lehigh University.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lisa Nadler to the executive team at IAS,” said IAS CEO, Lisa Utzschneider. “She brings a wealth of experience across the full spectrum of corporate human resource functions and has successfully managed growth and complexity in large and entrepreneurial organizations. With Lisa on board, we will continue to build an organization of excellence and create a dynamic culture where employees can thrive.”

Two senior hires for Upstream
Mobile technology firm Upstream is strengthening its international management team with two key appointments. Kostas Kastanis assumes the role of deputy CEO following his leadership of Upstream’s ad-funded mobile internet platform, Zero-D, which now has an addressable market of some 250m people. Meanwhile, Chrysa Karamanidi moves from her position as head of the company’s One-D platform to assume the role of chief innovation officer.

Kastanis joined Upstream in 2015 as head of strategy, before taking on the leadership of the Zero-D platform. Prior to joining Upstream, Kastanis worked with global consulting firm McKinsey & Company and also with Mastercard. He is a graduate of the Athens University of Economics & Business in Operations Research and holds a Master of Science degree in Decision Sciences from the same university, as well as an MBA from INSEAD.

After joining Upstream in 2009 Karamanidi held a number of roles within the company’s campaigns and digital marketing operations before becoming general manager for LATAM markets. In 2018, she took over the leadership of the company’s One-D Digital Marketing solution and led the development and launch of new mobile operator products. She is a graduate in Management Science and Technology from Athens University, and also holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing from Bath University in the UK.

“These two appointments further strengthen our leadership team and will help sharpen our strategic focus as we continue to expand our global business,” said Upstream CEO, Dimitris Maniatis. During the past three years, we have worked hard to transform our product portfolio and bring it to market. The early success of our new offerings has given us full confidence to move forward with our strategy. We believe that by continually improving our performance and enhancing the innovation we can bring to the mobile marketplace, Upstream is becoming the go-to digital monetization partner for the mobile operator community across emerging markets.”

Zappar hands strategic partnership role to Morris
Augmented reality (AR) platform and creative studio Zappar has appointed Ed Morris as VP, strategic partnerships – North America, working out of New York.

He joins Zappar from Gate Reality, a New York and London-based AR/VR production studio which he co-founded in 2016. In the role, he led business development and strategy, working with clients including Adidas, Pringles, Island Records, Intel, Bank of America and NTT Docomo.

He holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Nottingham in the UK and prior to entering the AR space he held analyst and then VP positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“The US market has always been a focus for us, working across categories with the likes of 7-Eleven, Hasbro, Nestle and the Minnesota Vikings to devise and deliver on their AR strategies in different verticals,” said Zappar co-founder and CEO. “Ed’s experience and talent come at a time of continued expansion, as we look to further democratize AR in the US. He joins at such an exciting period for us given the inflection point in mobile WebAR and our strongest ever product roadmap. Ed will be fundamental in building partnerships with agencies and brands alike to help them unlock value with our ZapWorks platform and tools”.

Millard to head up planning at Wavemaker
Wavemaker UK has hired Elliott Millard as its head of planning. Based in London, Millard will lead a team of 65 planners, taking responsibility for the strategic element of key new business pitches and working with clients to maximise their growth potential. He will report to Verra Budimlija, Wavemaker’s chief strategy officer.

He brings over 18 years’ media industry leadership experience to the role, most notably in the technology, automotive and retail sectors. This includes eight years in senior planning and strategy roles at Starcom and, most recently, as group managing partner at OMD EMEA. His client portfolio includes brands such as Lidl, Kraft Heinz, Fiat Chrysler and Uber.

In his new role, Millard will develop long-term business and communication strategies for key clients as well as driving Wavemaker’s planning product, and leading the planning function for Wavemaker’s new business prospects.

He said: “I’m relishing the opportunity to work with the talented Wavemaker team and help grow the current client portfolio while maximising the growth potential for existing clients. The media industry is going through a period of unprecedented transformation and opportunity. I look forward to leading and developing a dynamic and growing team that is at the forefront of it.”

Kwalee hires Parmar to lead ad monetisation efforts
Hyper-casual mobile games publisher Kwalee has hired Dilpesh Parmar as its head of ad monetisation. He brings over a decade of experience to his role, and joins from ad network IQzone, where he was COO of the firm’s London office. His resume also includes a two-year tenure at Shazam, where he set up ad monetisation for brands. Six of his 12 years of experience in ad monetisation were spent at Outfit7, where he developed in-house ad mediation solutions and directed all ad monetisation operations.

He said: “This is such an exciting time to be working in the gaming space, and Kwalee is right at the forefront of the hyper-casual genre. I feel I can help to cement this position, but also bring Kwalee forward even further, alongside the great minds that are already here. It’ll also be great fun to rekindle some past relationships and make many new ones within the studio.”

Kwalee develops and publishes hyper-casual mobile games and is currently ranked as the No.4 casual game publisher on the US App Store, thanks to hit titles that include Draw It, Shootout 3D, Off the Rails 3D, Rocket Sky! and Go Fish!

Mason to head up US sales at Studio71
Media firm Studio71 has hired Kristin Mason as SVP, head of US sales. Based in Studio71’s New York office and reporting to chief revenue officer Matt Crowley, she will work closely with brands and agencies to continue to grow Studio71’s US advertising business.

Mason will be responsible for monetization of Studio71’s premium brand-safe media offering, which includes properties like Soul Publishing, Donut Media, Fine Bros and Vat19, and reaches 115m US video viewers monthly. She will also be spearheading sales for branded content and influencer marketing programs for Studio71 talent such as Michelle Khare, Kyler and Mad, the LaBrant Family and Matt Steffanina.

Mason has over 16 years’ digital media and sales management experience across multiple verticals and territories. She was most recently chief revenue officer of The Second Shift, the marketplace that connects businesses with women who are experts in marketing, finance, sales, HR and beyond. Her other previous roles include sales director at AOL, including media sales for HuffPo, Millennial Media, Yahoo!, MSFT, OATH and Verizon Media; a national sales manager at Exponential Interactives engagement division; leader of the East Coast video and mobile teams for Evolve Media; and digital media sales at VideoEgg/SAY! Media.

She said: “I am looking forward to expanding and growing Studio71’s client and agency relationships, while uncovering new ways to utilize the premium talent relationships that Studio71 is known for. I’ve watched Studio71 grow considerably over the last few years across established platforms like Youtube and CTV, and emerging opportunities like TikTok, IGTV and Podcasts. I am thrilled to join such a talented team.”