Movers and Shakers: Awin, Magnite, Merkle, VMLY&R, Dmexco, 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.

Top (L-R): Adam Ross, Julie Selman, Sam Taverner
Bottom (L-R): Debbie Ellison, Jan Garnefeld, Jessica DeVlieger

Awin selects Ross to lead
Adam Ross has been appointed Chief Executive Officer at Axel Springer’s Awin. He succeeds Mark Walters, who becomes a member of the Supervisory Board.

Following a 15-year tenure as Awin’s Chief Operating Officer, where he helped shape Awin’s growth to over 1,000 employees across 15 international markets, Ross will now lead the company as it embarks on building the world’s leading open partner ecosystem.

“I have an ambitious vision for Awin over the next three years to transform our global network into a feature-rich martech platform, one that empowers businesses large or small to partner for mutual success,” explained Ross. “We had a phenomenal 2020 and have been humbled by that given the circumstances around us. It would be easy for Awin to become complacent but while I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved, particularly our staff’s resilience, there’s a lot of work to be done to continue our evolution. We’ve listened carefully to our customers and have a range of products and features either in development or due for release that will allow us to deliver significantly greater value for our partners. I will focus the entire organisation on that clear mission and look forward to the future with great hope, purpose and excitement.”

Alongside Ross’ promotion, Tim Lomborg has added the role of Managing Director for DACH to his existing responsibilities, succeeding Marc Hundacker.

Lomborg has been with the company for over 10 years and is currently Managing Director for the Nordics and Eastern Europe. From February, he will gain the additional responsibility of managing the DACH region.

“The German-speaking market and our DACH customers are of utmost importance to Awin and I look forward to making my contribution. Our team has worked incredibly hard over the past few years to build a solid foundation for growth and innovation with our partners,” said Lomborg. “I’m excited to kick-off this new chapter for the DACH region by addressing the current and future needs of our customers, ensuring we capitalise on the potential in the market whilst remaining at the forefront of trust, security and quality tracking that our partners expect of us.”

Selman joins Magnite as UK MD
Magnite, an independent omnichannel sell-side ad platform, has hired Julie Selman as its UK Managing Director. Reporting to SVP Head of EMEA Stephen Wing, she is tasked with accelerating commercial growth in the UK market.

Selman, who has over 15 years’ digital advertising experience, arrives from FreeWheel, where she most recently held the position of Senior Director and Head of Demand Strategy UK and Northern Europe. During this time, she played a key role in establishing the FreeWheel media team and led the launch of its connected TV product offering.

“With 49 per cent of adults owning a smart TV as of last year, CTV viewership is expanding and the UK ad industry is primed to respond,” commented Selman. “I am pleased to join Magnite at such a dynamic time. I am looking forward to working with the team to meet the complex needs of marketers and publishers and to realise the full potential of programmatic omnichannel advertising.”

Merkle promotes Taverner to CGO
Sam Taverner has been appointed Chief Growth Officer EMEA at Merkle, as well as serving the same role for parent company Dentsu’s customer experience management service Line. He will be responsible for providing strategic leadership to new and existing clients, helping them navigate Merkle’s CXM offering across marketing technology, data and analytics, CRM and performance media to deliver effective and efficient customer experience transformation programmes.

Taverner joined Merkle in 2017, as part of the acquisition of Comet Global Consulting. In October 2020, he was appointed to run Merkle’s technology services division. Prior to his time at Merkle and Comet, he held senior roles at CACI, Experian, and Acxiom.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Merkle across EMEA, as we evolve our customer experience management proposition and expand our footprint and CX transformation capabilities across the region,” said Taverner. “Our long-standing history in delivering data-driven, tech-enabled CX capabilities makes Merkle uniquely positioned to support clients deliver and accelerate their transformation programmes. I’m looking forward to helping them navigate the complex data and technology decisions required to accelerate their journeys across Merkle’s CXM offering.”

Ellison elevated to Global CDO at VMLY&R
VMLY&R Commerce has promoted Debbie Ellison to Global Chief Digital Officer. She will now be responsible for driving new business opportunities, revenue streams and enhanced capabilities for clients and VMLY&R Commerce alike.

Ellison was previously UK Chief Digital Officer for Geometry, which recently became VMLY&R Commerce. She joins the VMLY&R Commerce Global Executive Board but will retain her current role as UK Chief Digital Officer.

“I’m honoured to collaborate with our brilliant teams to accelerate growth for clients through connected, digital commerce experiences,” commented Ellison. “In close partnership with Michelle Whelan, UK CEO, we’ve significantly transformed our UK business by expediting proprietary product development, delivering new routes to market at breakneck speed and developing stores of the future.  I look forward to scaling our successes globally.” 

Dmexco turns to Garnefeld to direct on sales
Jan Garnefeld has been named as Director of Sales & Operations at the digital marketing and tech trade show business Dmexco, taking over from Christoph Menke-Salz.

Garnefeld joined Koelnmesse in 2018 and has been responsible for sales activities and managing key accounts for Dmexco. Before that, he organised large-scale sporting events and was in charges of sales at Talk Digital.

“We’re delighted to have Jan Garnefeld assume this role, he is an absolute sales pro who already has in-depth knowledge about the trade show business in general and also knows Dmexco and the digital economy inside out. And, of course, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Christoph Menke-Salz for his amazing dedication, which in particular contributed to the success of the purely digital Dmexco @home last year,” said Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse.

DeVlieger takes up CEO position at C Space
Customer agency C Space has chosen Jessica DeVlieger as its new Global Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Charles Trevail, who will continue to lead Omnicom’s Interbrand Group.

DeVlieger is currently President of C Space’s North American business, a role that she has held for four years. Prior to that, DeVlieger spent a decade spearheading the company’s sales and marketing efforts. She is also on the Executive Committee for the Great Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Positive Tracks, and a key supporter of WIRe (Women in Research).

“It’s a great honour to lead C Space, at such a pivotal moment,” said DeVlieger. “There is so much change in the world, and the ways companies interact with their customers is fundamentally and rapidly evolving. I feel so proud to lead an exceptional team, who are constantly innovating, to find new ways for the world’s biggest and most exciting businesses to connect with their customers, in more meaningful ways, to drive growth.”

MediaMath adds Karandikar to its board
Ashwini Karandikar has been elected to the Board of Directors at ad tech company MediaMath.

As Global President at Denstu, Karandikar launched, scaled, and operated Amnet (Dentsu Aegis Network’s global programmatic group) in more than 50 markets, as well as leading the Navegg and Accordant Media acquisitions.

“MediaMath leads the digital advertising ecosystem with a focus on delivering addressability, accountability and alignment through the Source framework and its unique and all-encompassing identity solution architecture,” said Karandikar. “Its commitment to delivering on innovative solutions that will work for brands, agencies, publishers and technology providers alike is why I joined, and I’m excited to help make it happen.”

Brujó becomes Interbrand President
Gonzalo Brujó has been elevated to Global President at Omnicom’s Interbrand Group. He will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Interbrand Group around the world.

Brujó is currently Chief Growth Officer for Interbrand, a role he has held for three years. Prior to that, he spent more than 15 years scaling the Interbrand business in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

“It’s a great honour to step into this senior leadership role in the Interbrand Group, at such a pivotal moment,” said Brujó. “The role that brands play in our lives is fundamentally changing – as is the world we live in. Branding is no longer a moment in time – and the brands that stand still, will quickly lose relevance. I am excited to partner with Charles and our Executive teams around the world, who collaborate with our clients every day to achieve brilliant and highly commercial results, in this challenging landscape.”

Inkitt brings in Murnikov to lead engineering
Pavel Murnikov has joined self-publishing app Inkitt as Vice President of Engineering. He will focus on accelerating the engineering team’s rate of innovation and product roadmap delivery. He will also be responsible for leading the engineering team across all levels and building the various recruiting processes and systems required to continue attracting and developing the best talent.

Prior to joining Inkitt, Murnikov was Vice President of Technology at Activision Blizzard. Over his five-year tenure, he was responsible for launching their streaming and VOD platform and leveraging it for content delivery in AAA video games. He has also held the role of Chief Technology Officer at Major League Gaming and Shapemix.

“I’ve seen the power and impact Inkitt’s technology can have on people’s lives across the world, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to join them on their journey to build and launch even more innovative products,” said Murnikov.

Rössel takes up CFO gig at Adverty
In-game ad platform Adverty has hired Anders Rössel as its Chief Financial Officer. He will be responsible for the company’s financials, whilst providing strategic counsel to the CEO and the members of the Board.

Prior to joining Adverty, Rössel was CFO at Howden Insurance Brokers Sweden, where he drove a Finance Transformation Project, whilst also being responsible for IT and HR. He was also Head of Business Control at Cherry.

“I am excited to get stuck into my new role in such an innovative and fast-growing media company. Adverty provides unique ad formats, and its potential is huge – despite a challenging trading environment as we start the new year,” commented Rössel. “Adverty is genuinely setting a new standard for generating revenue and we anticipate many high-value deals and strategic long-term partnerships in the pipeline, both in the short and the long term.”

Hivestack makes pair of senior hires
Louis-Philippe Denis and Troy Yang have been hired as Global Chief Legal and Privacy Officer and Managing Director for North Asia respectively.

Denis, who will report to Founder and CEO Andreas Soupliotis, previously counselled Hivestack in his capacity as Chief Legal Officer for François de Gaspé Beaubien. Prior to joining Hivestack, he was corporate counsel for the power division of Brookfield Asset Management and has also worked for Gowling WLG.

“Programmatic DOOH has seen rapid adoption and unprecedented growth over the past year,” said Denis. “Not only is Hivestack constantly innovating and bringing leading products to market, but they are doing so with the utmost transparency. Hivestack currently works with all leading data partners globally and is adopting the best solution in a post-cookie world, so that it can continue to drive business outcomes for its clients and partners. I look forward to bringing my expertise to the team during this most important time.”

Yang is charged with expanding operations in North Asia across Greater China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan – including hiring regional talent, and onboarding and partnering with APAC demand, supply, data and omni-channel DSP partners. He joins from The Trade Desk, where he was Senior Vice President of North Asia.

“The opportunity for Hivestack in China and North Asia is really exciting. I look forward to using my experience to make Hivestack the go-to programmatic DOOH partner for both publishers and advertisers in the region,” said Yang.

Bonnici named CMO at Whereby
Whereby, a video meeting platform, has announced the appointment of Ryan Bonnici as its new Chief Marketing Officer. He will focus on building on recent international expansion, exploring opportunities in growth countries like Brazil, Japan, India and the USA.

Bonnici was previously CMO at and was shortlisted on the Forbes list of the ‘World’s Most Influential CMOs’. He has also held senior leadership roles at HubSpot, Salesforce, and Microsoft.

“Our relationship with work has changed completely. Many people have had a taste of flexible working culture and are keen not to go back to the way things were – even after the pandemic is over. As remote work and technology become more intertwined, attention will now focus on delivering brilliant user experiences while safeguarding privacy,” said Bonnici. “One of the main reasons I joined Whereby was because of how energised I felt after a day of calls on the platform compared to other clunky video call apps. With its extensive list of personalised features and ease of use – together with the belief in the decoupling of work and geographical location – Whereby offers a completely unique solution to the challenge thousands of companies face in adapting to the current landscape.”

Given makes two hires to client team
Becki Rassell and Immy Feenan have joined brand purpose agency Given as Client Lead and Client Manager respectively. Both new team members will sit under Lucy Smaill, Given’s Client Team Director, where they will help foster long-term client partnerships and ensure the objectives of Given’s clients.

Rassell’s arrives from her role as Account Director role on a social impact-related project at BBMG and over six years client and programme management experience at Wolff Olins and agency ThirtyThree. She will help grow the client team at Given and will lead the delivery of work across the agency and account growth for key clients, with a primary focus on John Lewis and Ikea.

“I have quite a bit of experience working on big brand programmes, so I am very interested in combining that brand experience with purpose and sustainability at Given,” said Rassell. “Using brands to elevate sustainability objectives and social causes is incredibly interesting and motivating for me. It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to make a difference with my skills and experience.”

Feenan joins from The Tree, where she worked as Digital Strategy Manager. She will work on developing current and future client relationships and help ensure projects are delivered smoothly.

“I am passionate and committed to Given’s values. It is super exciting to be able to bring my digital and client management experience to a purpose-focused role, and within such an intelligent and experienced team,” said Feenan.

Two new VPs at Audience Serv
Customer acquisition specialist Audience Serv has promoted Karsten Eckhardt to Vice President of Data Analysis & Deliverability and Tobias Vogel to Vice President of Lead Generation.

Reporting to COO Carlo Biondo, Eckhardt is responsible for monitoring business data and is in chare of the technology and strategic development and deployment of campaign management and deliverability. He has been working as a data scientist at Audience Serv since 2018 having previously worked as an analyst at Commerzbank.

Reporting to Founder and Co-CEO David Pikart, Vogel is now responsible for strategic planning as well as direct and indirect sales activities in the lead generation division. He joined Audience Serv in 2019 as Head of Lead Generation. Prior to that, he was Marketing Executive at WD-40 Company and Sales Marketing Manager at AdSalsa.

“With Karsten and Tobias joining our top management, we can continue to expand our lead generation solutions and further optimise our data management,” said Pikart. “Both areas are essential for Audience Serv’s market position. Not only have they proven their expertise in recent years, but also their ability to successfully implement short and long-term goals. That is why we see both of them as ideal choice for these positions.”

Productsup selects Kasemir as CPO
Thomas Kasemir has taken up the role of Chief Product Officer at eCommerce data integration company Productsup. Reporting to Co-CEO Kai Seefeldt, he will lead the global engineering and product management teams and will focus on accelerating product innovation.

Kasemir arrives at Productsup from Informatica, where he served for eight years as Vice President of Product Development, MDM Solutions. He has also previously held senior product roles at IBM and Heiler Software.

“Especially with the rise of social commerce, ecommerce success will more than ever depend on the capability to easily manage product feeds across numerous target platforms. Productsup has the right product, technology, and team to address this outstanding market opportunity and Im very excited to be part of their success story,” said Kasemir.

Raum named as EVP HR at Colt
Telecoms firm Colt Technology Services has appointed Tessa Raum as its Executive Vice President for Human Resources (HR). Reporting to CEO Keri Gilder, she will be responsible for leading Colt’s HR function and implementing the recently announced three-year strategy across the global organisation.

Raum joined Colt in July 2019 as Vice President of HR and has previously worked at companies including eMoney Advisor, Beyond (now Nexxt), and Analytical Graphics.

“It’s a time of tremendous change for the industry, Colt, and enterprises globally,” Raum commented. “In the last year, our people have worked tirelessly to support our customers and I’ve never been prouder to be a part of Colt. With our new strategy laid out for the next three years, I’m excited to empower our people to really execute on it, so we can all play a role in driving Colt forward together.”

Fantastic adds three new staff members
Gaby Kirwin, Jack Norman, and Alfie Johnston have all joined Fantastic Media, an integrated marketing agency.

Kirwin, who arrives as Marketing Account Executive, joins from a client-side role within events management. She has previously worked at Bewonder and Gig Retail.

Norman joins Fantastic as Digital Marketing Manager, coming from work on the client-side at The Skills Network.

Johnston, who holds a master’s degree in branded experience from Northumbria University, has been hired as Creative Designer.

“The agency has remained stable in the current climate, something we are proud of and grateful for. The team have worked exceptionally hard, adapting well to remote working, and continuing to give our clients a best-in-class service,” said Andrew Hobson, Managing Director at Fantastic.

“With many of our clients experiencing record results online, I’m delighted to announce a further step change in our digital marketing capabilities. A new generation of young talent bolsters our offering with exceptional skills, experience and energy…They will have a Fantastic career with our agency.”