Movers and Shakers: ELVIS, Organic, Applift, Cavai, Zenus Bank and more

David Murphy

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.

(L-r): Jenna Russell, Natalie Barton, Manuela Cadd

Russell takes up strategy role at ELVIS
Creative agency ELVIS has announced the appointment of Jenna Russell as Senior Strategist. Russell joins the agency from independent creative agency FOTW (Fall off the Wall), where she headed up the strategy department and sat on the leadership team, working across brands including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Kit and Kin,

In her new position, she will play a key role in helping to turn strategy into an even stronger driving force at ELVIS, working towards the goal of ensuring the department delivers disproportionate impact across the agency and its client work. She will lead strategy for the Nomad Foods account, on brands including Birds Eye, Aunt Bessie’s and Goodfellas, and also work across the agency’s Mondelez portfolio. Russell will report to ELVIS Strategy Director, Camilla Yates.

Originally hailing from Australia and coming to London in 2009, Russell has had a diverse career to date, spending several years in the hospitality business, managing corporate and private events, before joining Fox International Studios in 2010, where she spent more than six years in creative and production roles.

She said: “I’ve been impressed by the ELVIS mantra of Unexpected and Unforgettable and the way in which it permeates everything they do – from their award-winning client work to their culture. I couldn’t be happier to be joining a business with so many amazing women on its leadership team. I’m thrilled to be taking on this role and I can’t wait to get stuck into this exciting new chapter.”

Barton heads home to Organic
Digital agency Organic has appointed Natalie Barton as its Strategic Account Director. Joining from digital marketing and creative agency Fiora (formerly known as Creation) where she was an Account Director, Barton will report into Organic's Head of Client Services, Tim Burley, across a number of accounts.

She will be responsible for the development and growth of existing clients, as well as identifying new opportunities and building relationships with brands. Before Fiora, Barton worked at London media agency, the7stars, where she was responsible for the media planning and account management for clients such as Atlantic Records, Pizza Express, Papa John’s and Boux Avenue.

She said: "After moving to London straight after university, it took just three years for the pull of the South West to start drawing me back home. I had a pit stop in Bristol for five years, where I developed my marketing skills at an integrated marketing agency, before finally biting the bullet and moving back to Devon.

“Of all the agencies I researched, Organic stood out the most by far – the proposition was clear, the clients were exciting and the individuals I met were ambitious. In my new role as a Strategic Account Director for the agency, I’m excited to build client relationships and further develop the great work that’s already been executed by the team."

Cadd takes Applift into Australia and New Zealand
Mobile performance platform Applift has appointed Manuela Cadd to the role of Country Manager – Australia & New Zealand, as part of its international growth strategy. Applift’s entry into the Australian & New Zealand market solidifies the company’s increasing global footprint, with 20 offices now operational in locations including Berlin, San Francisco, New York, Beijing and Buenos Aires.

Cadd is an experienced digital and ad tech professional, with over 14 years’ experience across Europe and APAC. She is passionate about aligning new and emerging technologies to the long-term goals of publishers, agencies and advertisers. Originally from Mainz, Germany, she now lives in Melbourne, where she founded DigitalOne in 2011, focussing on media buying and market support for international brand, agencies and ad tech companies.

Applift’s parent company, Media and Games Invest, recently announced the newly-formed Verve Group – a data-first brand performance ad platform connecting brands, advertisers and publishers to people in real time.

Verge Group unites Applift with recent Media and Games Invest acquisitions, including location-based mobile marketing platform Verve, and global mobile ad exchange PubNative, combining location intelligence with display and video advertising experiences. 

Cadd said: “All brands and app developers want are real customers on mobile, transparent traffic and alternative channels that offer better ROAS/ROI. Applift’s advertiser portal solves exactly these challenges and shines a light on the quality of the traffic.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the wider Verge Group family to launch Applift into Australia and New Zealand, and although it’s a difficult time for the entire industry, performance advertising is proving particularly resilient, as brands seek more personalised customer interactions.”

Cavai boosts European team with four key hires
Conversational advertising platform, Cavai, is expanding its European team with four key hires, following a €1.5m (£1.3m) investment from Norwegian state-owned investment company, Investinor.

The investment has allowed Cavai to continue its expansion across Europe with the opening of an Amsterdam office, and the recruitment of Sophie Gunyon, Rogier Lammers, Gabrielle D’Mello and Mikael Englund to the team.

Gunyon joins as Sales Director, UK, from TI Media, where she was Business Director across GroupM. She has also held senior leadership roles at Collective, Tribal Fusion, Exponential, OMD, MPG and Saatchi & Saatchi. She has joined Cavai with a remit to increase revenue across all UK media agencies, working with in-house trading desks such as Xaxis and Amnet to drive understanding and uptake of conversational advertising.

Joining Cavai as Commercial Director Central Europe is Rogier Lammers, who until recently was Head of Demand Benelux at SpotX. Lammers also spent almost seven years at Improve Digital, where he led business development across the Nordics. He will be responsible for the commercial business of Cavai across central Europe, from managing current contracts to generating new business and partnerships.

Gabrielle D’Mello joins as the company’s first Conversation Designer. She is a highly-skilled Multidisciplinary Designer and has previously had artwork featured in London’s OXO Gallery, as well as working as a creative at Wonderland Agency. Prior to joining Cavai, D’Mello was part of a team that created branded designs and styling for Twitter MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2020 in Barcelona. Her unique role in Cavai will be to provide creative brainstorming of the client briefs to deliver maximum engagement and interaction of the ad, and also to provide design and copy for conversational ads in the UK.

Finally, joining Cavai as Director of Growth is Mikael Englund. He has held senior commercial roles at Widespace, and most recently at Unruly. He will be tasked with establishing the Swedish market and then driving global revenue growth and new market launches.

“We are excited by the expansion of both the business and the team this year, which has been in response to the significant increase in demand by advertisers to be able to create conversational-style ads delivered in a chatbot-like experience on desktop and mobile,” said Cavai CEO, Steffen Svartberg. “Sophie, Rogier, Gabrielle and Mikael each bring exceptional expertise and experience to Cavai and we are excited to be able to continue to build on the success that we already experienced across Europe.”

Cavai’s clients include VISA, Santander, J & J, HP, Unilever and The Telegraph, as well as several large media agencies.

Woods to head up marketing at Zenus Bank
Independent American digital bank, Zenus Bank, has announced the appointment of seasoned marketeer John Woods to the newly-created role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Based in London, Woods will oversee global marketing strategy, advertising, sponsorship, customer acquisition and the launch of the new digital bank.

Woods brings with him a wealth of experience in marketing and driving accelerated business growth. After having held numerous senior roles at Barclays Bank and successfully re-launching its online business bank, he moved into FX trading, leading CMC Markets through a digital transformation for its successful FTSE250 IPO. More recently, he led Samsung’s European digital operations and assisted Bain Capital in the separation and launch of a new business, Zellis, which is the UK’s largest payroll provider.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Zenus Bank at this exciting time. Having experienced the frustrations of international banking for both retail and corporate customers, I believe the Zenus offering will provide financial security, inclusion and independence to millions. The cutting-edge combination of AI, ML and banking technology will also make it a fantastic customer experience.”

Scott takes the Chair at My Digital Accounts
Enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) vendor, My Digital Accounts (MDA), has appointed Nic Scott, former CEO and Co-founder of Fairsail, as its chairman, with immediate effect.

Fairsail, which pioneered the mid-market SaaS HR market, was bought by the UK’s largest software company, Sage Group Plc in 2017 for an undisclosed nine figure sum, to develop its Sage People cloud offering. My Digital Accounts (MDA), founded by CEO John Whelan, has operations in the UK and India. Its investors include the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, set up to foster innovation in the North of England.

Over the last 12 months, MDA, originally set up in response to the UK Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, has doubled its user base of accountants and recruitment firms. Today, it processes over a million transactions per month.

Prior to co-founding and leading Fairsail for six years, Scott held senior leadership positions at enterprise software firm, Oracle, and has advised several multinational tech scale-up companies.

He said: “My experience is that periods of great change bring great opportunities to provide innovative software to solve new challenges. The team at MDA are bright, keen and determined to offer businesses new ways to stay agile in the face of new regulatory and economic challenges. I am very much looking forward to bringing my experience to bear in an area of software I know well, and which continues to be poorly served and therefore demands new approaches like John and the team are developing.”

DiMiCeli to run sales at MarcomCentral
MarcomCentral, a cloud-based digital asset management (DAM) company, has appointed Leonard DiMicelia as Vice President of Sales. In this position, DiMiceli will lead the company’s sales strategy, including expanding growth efforts beyond enterprise to support the SMB market, as well as overseeing Marcom’s new business division.

DiMiceli is a growth-focused leader, and joins MarcomCentral with 25 years’ experience driving new business, most recently as VP, Channel Sales at Ecessa Corporation where he elevated the company to become a technology leader in the SD-WAN space. Prior to Ecessa Corporation, DiMiceli held executive roles at My Digital Shield, ConnectWise, and J2 Global.

He said: “MarcomCentral has the passion to deliver software that marketers love to use and a dedication to helping brands navigate their rapidly-evolving field. The opportunities ahead are tremendous, and I'm excited to lead the sales team and to propel MarcomCentral forward.”
MarcomCentral’s flagship DAM platform allows organizations not only to store their marketing assets like traditional DAMs, but also offers an advanced suite of dynamic templates, enabling the customization and distribution of those assets to their employees worldwide, quickly and easily.

Ad tech veteran Self to CEO at Acoustic
Ad tech veteran Dennis Self has joined digital marketing firm Acoustic as CEO. Prior to Acoustic, Dennis served as the CEO of Acxiom, a member of the IPG family. He replaces Tom Heiser who has been serving as interim CEO. Heiser will remain with Acoustic as Chairman of the Board.
Acoustic was formed in the summer of 2019 as a carve-out from IBM – its suite of solutions is the former IBM Watson Marketing Cloud. The company has more than 1,000 employees globally.

When it launched as a standalone company last summer, Acoustic’s vision was to be a singular solution for marketers, which included unifying ad tech and martech. Acoustic said that Self’s recruitment to the company underscores the importance of the convergence of these industries.