Airship

Movers and Shakers: Blippar, Lightspeed, TripleLift, Team ITG and more

David Murphy

The mobile and digital marketing industry is ever-changing, and that applies to the people as much as the technology. Movers & Shakers is our monthly round-up of the hottest hires in the industry…

(Clockwise from top left:) Ben Lewis, Preet Prasannan, Nate V. Rackiewicz, Sonja Kristiansen, Ross Macdonald, Berkley Egenes

Prasannan moves up from CTO to CEO at Blippar
Augmented reality (AR) platform Blippar, has appointed Chief Technology Officer Preet Prasannan as its new CEO to lead the future growth and strategy for the firm’s AR technology stack.

Having previously led the Dreamworks India R&D team, Prasannan joined Blippar in 2015 to build and centralise the technology operations in India, leading the engineering efforts to create Blippar’s AR creation self-service platform, Blippbuilder, which now has over 25,000 monthly active users and over 100,000 creatives using the platform, with no coding experience required. 

After a successful acquisition of his previous startup business, iKaaz, to Grab (Southeast Asia’s leading superapp) Prasannan rejoined Blippar as CTO and has since been instrumental in building the world’s first integration of web-based SLAM AR technology within Blippar’s SaaS solutions. More recently, he was responsible for the integration of Blippbuilder within Microsoft Teams.

He said: “It has been a great honour to work with the best minds in the XR industry at Blippar, and it is an even greater privilege to now lead the team. Blippar has and always will be about ‘augmenting reality’ – constantly pushing technical boundaries and innovation whilst never losing focus on the end users and the knowledge, learnings and experiences they gain from consuming this medium. As the XR hardware landscape evolves and users start to adopt AR-enabled eyewear, we will continue to make our vision to be the de facto AR/XR creation platform a reality.”

Srinivasan to head up Marketing at Lightspeed
Lightspeed Commerce has appointed Kady Srinivasan as its Chief Marketing Officer. Srinivasan is a tenured executive, with more than 15 years’ experience leading, building, and scaling marketing efforts at retail, gaming, consumer products, and technology companies. In her new role, she will lead Lightspeed's overall marketing strategy and build on the company's position in the market to help drive strategic growth, innovation, and value for shareholders and customers worldwide.

Srinivasan joins Lightspeed from Klaviyo, a SaaS marketing automation technology provider, where she served as SVP, Global Head of Marketing. Previously, she was the Chief Marketing Officer at Owlet Baby Care, leading the global marketing and sales efforts that built brand equity, created demand and raised awareness of the company as a leader in infant health technology. Before joining Owlet Baby Care, Srinivasan was Dropbox's Global Head of Marketing and Integrated GTM, where she led marketing for SMBs and consumers, driving considerable growth within two customer segments. She was instrumental in launching the Dropbox Business product brand and played a key role in Dropbox's IPO journey. She also served as Senior Director of Growth and Integrated Marketing for Electronic Arts' mobile division. 

“We’re thrilled to bring Kady onto the Lightspeed team as our new CMO with her vast experience scaling up SaaS companies, expanding businesses, and launching innovative cloud-based software solutions,” said Lightspeed CEO, JP Chauvet. "Her unique skill set will be pivotal for Lightspeed as we zero in on our target market of complex SMBs, raise brand awareness, and continue to roll out our flagship retail and hospitality products globally.”

Kristiansen takes up newly-created Chief Business Officer role at TripleLift
Ad tech firm,
TripleLift, has named Sonja Kristiansen as its Chief Business Officer, a new role for the company. She will be responsible for the company’s strategic initiatives, corporate development and will be central to driving global partnerships for the company.

Kristiansen has 15 years’ experience in digital media, leading strategy, partnerships and revenue teams. She first joined TripleLift in 2016 and has held a number of strategic leadership roles at the company, including, most recently, SVP, Global Platform Partnerships, where she led the teams responsible for supporting over 80 Demand-side Platforms (DSPs), audience networks, and other platforms, including verification, identity and data partners. Prior to joining the company, Kristiansen led publisher development at ad tech startup Virool, and held a number of positions in sales, services and digital media with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

Kristiansen’s appointment caps a period of rapid change for TripleLift. Last March, the company completed its acquisition of 1plusX, a global first-party data activation platform, to accelerate its media + data strategy and enhance its portfolio of first-party data solutions for publishers and advertisers. In August, it announced an expansion of its business into the DACH region, bringing new markets to an already-long list of regions outside the US from EMEA to APAC. In September, it announced Vevo as another major streaming partner to integrate the company’s ground-breaking CTV In-Show technology, which inserts brands and products into television programming through post-production product placement. And most recently, it appointed Dave Clark, former General Manager at FreeWheel, as its CEO. 

“Sonja possesses a rare combination of dynamic leadership skills and keen understanding for all parts of the digital media ecosystem,” said Clark. “She is a trusted partner to our customers, a beloved leader inside our walls and a knowledgeable leader in the industry. Sonja will be central to building out and driving our strategy moving forward.”

Macdonald to head up M&A at Team ITG
Multichannel marketing activation business, Team ITG, has appointed Ross Macdonald as Head of M&A. Macdonald, who has previously held senior positions overseeing mergers and acquisitions at eCommerce company Heroes and M&A specialists WY Partners, is tasked with leading ITG’s global growth plan.

Team ITG (Inspired Thinking Group) was founded in 2009 by CEO Simon Ward and acquired Storyteq in June 2021 and Brand Machine in June 2022. The company has multiple offices across Europe and America, with a total headcount of over 1,200 people. Key clients include household name brands like GSK, Jaguar Land Rover, Heineken, PUMA, and Currys. Macdonald will lead on identifying partnerships, new mergers, and acquisitions for ITG to expand the company’s footprint in Europe and the US.

“These are incredibly exciting times for our business, and we are thrilled to welcome Ross to the team to lead our ambitious global growth plan,” said Team ITG CEO, Sue Mountford. “We have built so many great partnerships with companies over the last decade and Ross brings with him unrivalled experience in the M&A space which will enable us to welcome new companies into the ITG family.”

Lewis handed Marketing and Growth role at Infobip
Global cloud communications platform Infobip has appointed Ben Lewis as Vice President of Marketing and Growth. Lewis will be responsible for increasing the firm’s market share and brand awareness to meet its ambitious growth targets. Taking a customer-centric approach, he will ensure Infobip is positioned as the full-stack omnichannel communications platform for every platform.

His immediate priorities include launching Infobip’s One Communications Platform brand positioning across all audiences and channels to drive awareness. He will also enhance Infobip’s customer marketing and growth capabilities by introducing new initiatives such as account-based marketing. In addition, by bringing together the firm’s marketing and growth teams globally, he will align all regions behind the same objective.

In the medium term, he will build Infobip’s brand equity globally and drive greater engagement with its critical tier-one platform business customers. He will also ensure greater visibility for Infobip’s self-service offer.

Lewis was previously VP of Strategic Commercial Innovation at Infobip. Before that, he was Director of Revenue Operations at US messaging firm, OpenMarket, which was acquired by Infobip in 2020. Following the acquisition, he managed the transition of the sales and accounts teams, working closely with Infobip’s executive team.

“Infobip is focused on profitable growth, and the marketing and growth team is critical to our success,” said Infobip Chief Business Officer, Ivan Ostoji?. “But to achieve that success, every team worldwide must be aligned and focused on the same objective. Combining the marketing and growth teams under Ben’s new leadership unifies our end-to-end go-to-market functions from strategy to campaigns. Now everyone is focused on how they can help our customers succeed and, by doing so, how we can achieve ambitious profitable growth.

Rackiewicz appointed Chief Data Officer at Reset Digital
Reset Digital has appointed Nate V. Rackiewicz as Chief Data Officer, a newly-created role overseeing the company’s vision, strategy, and execution of data, analytics, and science across the neuroprogrammatic firm’s business.

Reset Digital’s Neuroprogrammatic advertising platform enables brands to engage omnichannel audiences based on what motivates them as people (as opposed to targets). The company says it gives brands and publishers much broader and deeper audience reach across all communities, including underrepresented audiences they could not reach in the past. Its partners include L’Oreal, GM, P&G, Verizon, some of the world’s largest agencies, including IPG and GroupM, and a diverse mix of publishers.

Rackiewicz ost recently served as Chief Data Officer for Gannett Co., overseeing the company’s vision, strategy, and execution of data, analytics, and science across all business units. In a first for Gannett, Rackiewicz led a global team that implemented the company’s enterprise-wide customer identity, data, and growth analytics as well as data science and modeling capabilities. He joined Gannett from Take-Two Interactive Software, where he served as Head of Analytics, building a global data science and advanced analytics center of excellence and creating a competitive intelligence platform to drive increased revenue for the video game publisher. Earlier in his career, Rackiewicz served long tenures across A+E Networks and HBO.

Across the top roles, Rackiewicz was routinely recognized for his ability to lead expansive intelligence ecosystems, his experience building and executing revenue-generating data science solutions, and his ability to transform data into solutions that drive business for publishers seeking to engage their audiences.

He said: “What Reset Digital is doing is game-changing and long overdue and I am so excited to help lead it forward. The last 20 years of programmatic advertising ultimately sold out everyone in the equation and lost the trust of publishers, brands, consumers, and investors. Reset Digital brings the right approach, benefits all stakeholders, and drives the types of inclusive-effective outcomes that advertisers, publishers and our multicultural world deserves. I could not be more excited to apply my expertise to get the power of neuroprogrammatic into the hands of every organization that needs it.” 

Preston takes EMEA Sales and Bizdev role at Total Media Solutions
Total Media Solutions, a tech company that helps publishers manage their revenue, has appointed Tim Preston to the role of VP Sales and Business Development, EMEA to spearhead its growth in the region. He will be responsible for driving the company’s business opportunities in EMEA, and is also tasked with building a new sales team to meet the technology and revenue demands of both publishers and advertisers.  

A seasoned commercial leader who has held managerial roles at companies including AOL, DoubleClick and OpenX, Preston brings invaluable knowledge of the ad tech marketplace, with expertise spanning commercial strategy, partner and client relationships, publisher engagement, and new customer acquisition. 

He said: “The Total Media Solutions team boasts an impressive 18-year track record of delivering platform access, diamond-standard tech solutions and revenue management expertise and consultancy services for publishers and advertisers. Leading the business’ growth into this new market is the perfect next step in my career, and I’m hugely excited about the opportunities 2023 is set to bring.”

“Building on our success in other markets and with a number of exciting developments on the horizon, we’re thrilled to be welcoming Tim to develop and lead our growing EMEA team,” commented Total Media Solutions’ CEO, Sivan Tafla. “He joins at a critical point in our journey and we have no doubt his marketplace insight is going to be a huge asset in our growth plans.”

Wade to Chief Product Officer at Movable Ink
Movable Ink, the global software content personalization provider, has hired Bryan Wade as its Chief Product Officer. With more than two decades of experience scaling product organizations across the martech software industry, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Wade will lead Movable Ink’s product, strategy, and execution.  

Wade began his career in email marketing at ExactTarget in 2005. As the VP of the Email Studio product, he helped drive the firm’s email product to a $300m business. In 2013, when Salesforce acquired ExactTarget and became the core part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Wade served as Chief Product Officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud as it grew to $900m in revenue. Most recently, he served as Chief Client Officer and then Chief Product Officer at Terminus, an Account-Based Marketing technology company, following its acquisition of Sigstr, an early-stage startup, where he served as CEO. 

“Bryan’s track record leading product organizations through transformational periods is unmatched,” said Movable Ink’s CEO, Vivek Sharma. “We’re excited to bring Bryan on board as we continue to break new ground in personalization, lead the next era of AI-powered customer experiences, and deliver on the promise of human-centered marketing.”

Genesys hires Holzapfel as CMO and moves Jouve to CPO role
Genesys has appointed Olivier Jouve, previously its Executive Vice President and General Manager of Genesys Cloud CXTM, as its Chief Product Officer (CPO). It has also hired Barbara Holzapfel as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

In the five years since Jouve took the helm of Genesys Cloud CX, revenue for the platform has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 100 per cent. Genesys Cloud CX now supports more than 800,000 agents at over 4,000 organizations.

As Chief Product Officer, Jouve will be responsible for the overall product direction and innovation for all of Genesys, including oversight of Genesys Cloud CX, Genesys Engage, Pointillist, PureConnect and others. He will lead the company’s product, artificial intelligence and digital teams, to advance its market foothold in experience orchestration, enabling organizations worldwide to coordinate technologies, touchpoints and channels across the end-to-end customer journey.

With more than 20 years of marketing and business leadership for B2B and B2C companies, Hozapfel’s experience driving growth, enabling scale and building brand reputation will help accelerate the company’s market expansion in the Experience as a Service category. She is known for powering business transformation, including scaling SAP’s transition to SaaS, the rapid growth for two Fintech companies as CMO, and Microsoft’s Education business, through innovative thought leadership, multi-channel demand generation, brand, media and partner marketing strategies.

Hozapfel joins Genesys from Microsoft, where she was Vice President, Education, responsible for marketing and growth strategy for a multi-billion-dollar software, cloud and devices business. Prior to that, she was CMO at Taulia, Inc. and Addepar, Inc. She also spent 12 years in a range of leadership roles at SAP, including as Senior Vice President, Portfolio Marketing, for a multi-billion-dollar business.

“Genesys is at a key moment in redefining what is possible in the next era of employee and customer experiences,” said Tony Bates, CEO and Chairman of Genesys. “We’re focused on advancing our single platform strategy anchored in experience orchestration to provide valuable, real-time insights that inform C-Suite decisions. With Olivier’s transition and Barbara’s appointment, we’ve fortified our leadership team and the path forward for creating impactful experience that drive business results for our customers.”

Xsolla promotes Egenes to CMO
Xsolla, a global video game commerce company has appointed Berkley Egenes as Chief Marketing Officer. Since joining Xsolla in early 2020, Egenes has contributed significantly to the organization. Before his promotion, he held the position of Vice President of Global Marketing, specializing in game commerce solutions to help Xsolla's partners reach more players and increase revenue. 

Egenes has over 22 years’ marketing and product integration experience, gained leading marketing organizations focused on driving engagement and results at the intersection of brands and technology. He has represented blue-chip companies, such as Ghost Gaming, NEXT VR, Alcatel, TCL, VIZIO, Kellogg's, AB-InBev, NASCAR, IBM, Walmart, and CVS.

In his new role, Egenes will aim to elevate the Xsolla brand, grow revenue-driven leads, and scale the company. To achieve results for the company's partners and the organization, he plans to integrate initiatives with digital, events, product, social, content, public relations, legal, business development, operations, account management, creative, and design.

He said: "With more than 600 employees across the globe, it is important we continue to produce consistent messaging and creative delivery of the Xsolla brand from both a localized and global perspective. The company's story in how we help video game developers and publishers succeed will continue to be shared and amplified effectively to build excitement internally and externally for our solutions and products."

Other moves:
Anagram, a new independent media agency, has hired Kristen Abramo as Managing Director and Keisha Andrews as VP, Head of Media. They join other new hires, Seinn Schlidt (VP, Head of Strategy); Sandra Abi-Rashed (VP, Head of Client Services); and Jordan Galbraith (VP of Performance Media). The newly-assembled team comes from traditional and digital media backgrounds, furthering Anagram’s ethos, which is to truly understand consumers and meet them across all stages and media touch points across the customer journey.

Grin, the creator management platform for influencer marketing, has hired Charlie Besecker as its Chief Revenue Officer. In his new role, Besecker will be responsible for overall revenue growth, leading US and international sales, marketing, and customer success, as well as GRIN’s vertical-market expansion and enterprise sales strategy. Besecker brings substantial sales, business development and operational expertise to Grin, having previously served as Chief Revenue Officer at eCommerce firm Route. Prior to that, Besecker held several revenue leadership roles at Qualtrics, an experience management vendor that was acquired by SAP for $8bn in 2021.

Market research consultancy, Alter Agents, has hired Heather O’Shea as Chief Research Officer, Casey Willard as Chief Analytics Officer and promoted Eddie Francis to the role of Chief Operating Officer. O’Shea comes to Alter Agents from Snap. where she served as the Global Head of Ad Research and Insights. Willard will develop and oversee the company’s analytics department, working closely with staff on training, processes and protocols, and building out a plan for ongoing growth. Francis has worked at Alter Agents for 12 years, most recently serving as Managing Director. In his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing IT, budgeting, staff development and hiring, and vendor relationships.

SaaS data collaboration platform Optable has appointed Simon Theakston to the newly- created global role of Senior Director of Solutions Consulting and Brad Jeffrey as VP, North America Sales. Theakston was formerly Head of Digital Operations at iProspect, Senior Solutions Engineer at BlueKai - where he was part of the team that launched its data management platform into Europe - and global DMP Lead at Oracle. Jeffrey was previously Managing Director, Canada at Index Exchange. His deep knowledge of ad tech and his passion for strategic partnerships and innovative solutions will strengthen Optable’s growing commercial team in North America.

Boldspace has appointed Mike Beukes as Executive Creative Director. Beukes has over 20 years’ experience leading creative strategy for some of the world’s biggest brands including Toshiba, Mastercard, Pepsi and Sony. He has worked at many big-name agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA, Publicis, Engine, and JWT. The appointment marks another milestone for Boldspace, whose team now totals over 40 people, with notable recent hires including Yuko Kondo as Art Director, and Dan Pillay as Heads of Product for BoldLens. The agency added a number of major clients to its roster in 2022, including Fridays, Direct Line, Charles Tyrwhitt, and tech unicorn Deel.

Indian digital agency TheSmallBigIdea has promoted Sanmesh Sapkal and Hima Bulusu to the role of Associate Director, Key Accounts (Media and Entertainment), and Kruthika Ravindran to the role of Associate Director, Key Accounts (Non-media). The three executives have been critical in establishing and strengthening TheSmallBigIdea as a leading digital marketing agency.