Movers and Shakers: FreeWheel, Reprise, IPG Mediabrands, Here, 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): Yuling Ma, Vincent Spruyt, Rahel Rasu
Bottom (L-R): Gino Ferru, Kristi Argyilan, Jim Delaney

FreeWheel selects Ma as CTO
Yuling Ma has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer at Comcast’s ad company FreeWheel. She will lead the development and operation of FreeWheel’s technology platform and network operations and the company’s global engineering team spanning the US, Europe, and China.

Ma previously served as Senior Vice President of Engineering and General Manager overseeing FreeWheel’s Beijing office. In this role, she oversaw an engineering team that achieved significant product development and innovation milestones, including the creation of a new marketplace technology and programmatic trading capabilities. Ma joined FreeWheel from, where she served as division head overseeing data products, platforms, and business development. She has also previously worked at a Chinese startup that provided big data solution to the government, Pegasus, MicroStrategy, and Verizon.

“I’m honoured to be part of the FreeWheel family and excited for what lies ahead,” Ma said. “Moving forward, I’ll be partnering with our teams globally to fuel the expansion of our technology solutions across the ecosystem so that FreeWheel can be the connective tissue between buyers and sellers, transforming how the industry works and where it’s headed.”

Spruyt takes charge of AI at Reprise
Reprise, IPG’s performance marketing agency, has announced the appointment of Vincent Spruyt as its Global Chief AI Officer. Reporting to Global CEO Dimitri Maex, he will lead the newly formed artificial intelligence (AI) group as well as the agency’s established team of analytics experts.

Spruyt, a previous recipient of the MIT Technology Review ‘35 Innovators Under 35’ award, served as Chief Innovation Officer at Sentiance prior to joining Reprise. He is also frequently a guest professor at the IDLab AI research centre, which was co-founded by international research and development organisation, IMEC, and the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

“What attracted me to Reprise is its genuine focus on making a positive impact, which is evidenced by the groundbreaking Media Responsibility Index work it leads for Mediabrands,” Spruyt commented. “I am passionate about human-centric AI, which is underpinned by the same ideology – build intelligent systems that continuously learn from human input and guard fundamental rights like equality, fairness and privacy. In my new role I am excited for the opportunity to drive innovation and differentiation, as well as optimize, automate and improve existing processes on a global scale.”

IPG Mediabrands makes pair of global appointments
Rahel Rasu and Fiona Johnston have been named as Global Chief Communications Officer and Global Chief Growth Officer at IPG Mediabrands respectively.

Rasu, reporting directly to Global CEO Daryl Lee, will drive internal and external communications strategy for the global media agency network, with responsibility over corporate brand and reputation management, thought leadership, media relations, social media, analyst and influencer relations, employee communications, and corporate social responsibility.

She returns to IPG after a stint as Head of Global Communications at DDB Worldwide. Prior to that, she was as SVP of Global Communications at IPG’s McCann Worldgroup and, earlier, worked in research at Ad Age’s DataCenter.

“It is exciting to have Rahel onboard to help us raise our voice as a global media network with a strong perspective on the world. Rahel understands the power of culture and believes in communications that support our people, our clients, our brands and our values,” said Lee. “Her partnership across the organization will be invaluable as we continue to share our vision for a tech-supported but humanity-centered media future.”

Johnston’s promotion to Global CGO will see her support growth in both Global and EMEA markets, with an eye on delivering market advantage to clients, while also leading on group coordination between Mediabrands and its parent, IPG.

Johnston was previously CEO of Mediabrands subsidiary UM Australia, a role she held from October 2017. During her time at UM Australia, she led the agency to account wins including the Australian Government, David Jones, Menulog, Mattel, and Nestle.

“I am sad to be leaving Coady [Mark Coad] and the team at such an exciting time for UM in Australia. It really is the best bunch of strong, amazing humans and I’m so proud to have been a part of our shared success,” said Johnston.

“Equally the opportunity to craft more of this globally is a great honour indeed. I am excited to work with the global and Europe team to help bring it to life, as I know only we can.”

Ferru gets SVP gig at Here
Location data platform Here Technologies has hired Gino Ferru as Senior Vice President and EMEAR General Manager. He will be responsible for identifying opportunities for customers, partners and developers, across industries, and will leverage the power of location intelligence to solve business problems. He replaces Fred Hessabi, who has been promoted to Chief Customer Officer.

Ferru joins Here from The Netherlands’ Salesforce team, where he was Area Vice President since 2019. In that role, he was focused on strategic accounts and solution integrator partners for the CRM platform giant in many industries including transportation & logistics and technology. Before Salesforce, Ferru worked at and SAP.

“I am very pleased to welcome Gino to our team leading the EMEAR region. Gino brings with him a wealth of Software- and Platform-as-a-Service sales expertise that he will use to enable customers to access advanced digital mapping technology and create innovative, location-driven applications,” said Hessabi.

Zefr hands board seat to Argyilan
Kristi Argyilan has been appointed to the Board of Directors at video advertising platform Zefr.

Argyilan most recently joined Bed Bath & Beyond as SVP of Brand Innovation to lead the innovation arm of the BBBY brand team advancing key capabilities, developing new programmes and services to build customer loyalty, and creating new ways to leverage our brand marketing channels. Prior to BBBY, she spent time at Target, originally joining as SVP of Media and eventually being elevated to President of Roundel (previously Target Media Network).

“I’m thrilled to be joining Zefr’s board of directors,” said Argyilan. “For brand marketers, aligning with brand safe and brand suitable content has never been more important, or more challenging. Zefr’s contextual data solutions play a crucial role in solving these important issues, and I’m excited to support the company’s growth.”

Delaney takes up position at helm of Synthesio
Synthesio, an Ipsos social intelligence solution, has chosen Jim Delaney as its Chief Executive Officer. He will be the driving force behind Synthesios strategic focus on consumer insights and its mission to become the most trusted provider in the digital consumer intelligence market.

Delaney has held a number of leadership positions including Divisional President at Dun & Bradstreet, CEO of Sysomos, and CEO of Marketwired.

“Its a great privilege to join the Ipsos team and Synthesio family and I am excited to create value with this talented group of people,” Delaney said. “Synthesio is building the world’s leading consumer intelligence platform, reinforced by Ipsos research credentials, non-social media data, and AI-powered advanced analytics to help its clients truly understand society, markets, and people.”

Babylon makes trio of C-suite hires
Paul-Henri Ferrand, Stacy Saal, and Steve Davis have filled the positions of Chief Business Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Technology Officer, respectively, at digital healthcare service provider Babylon Health.

Ferrand will oversee Babylon’s business development, sales, marketing, and customer success efforts. He is former President of Google Cloud, preceded by his time as Vice President of Google’s US Sales and Operations function. Before Google, he spent 10 years at Dell, as well as holding roles at Nokia and AT&T.

Saal will run Babylon’s operational initiatives. She joins from Amazon, where she led a number of complex and strategically important programmes resulting in the successful launch and expansion of Prime Now and Amazon Fresh, with her recent focus on Prime Air. Prior to Amazon, she served as VP of Operations at the Global Wine Company, CEO of Tom’s Cookies, and Director of Demand Planning at Levi Strauss.

Davis, who will lead Babylon’s AI technology and team of data scientists and engineers, joins from the Expedia Group, where he was Senior VP of AI and Data. Prior to the Expedia Group, Steve held a number of entrepreneurial roles including CIO, CDO and CTO in enterprise SaaS software and marketplaces. He also acted as one of the original executive team members that built HomeAway/VRBO.

“We are thrilled to welcome three new powerhouses to the Babylon leadership team, each bringing their own unique background and wide range of expertise to the table,” said Ali Parsa, Founder of Babylon. “In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, there has never been a greater need to democratize healthcare and strategically appoint the right leaders to drive the charge. We were highly selective and patient in our search to find the perfect person for each of the three roles we’ve filled, and have no doubt that the resulting team will be well worth the wait.”

Lee named first Wyze CFO
Wyze Labs, a startup producing smart home products, has recruited Francis Lee as its first-ever Chief Financial Officer. He will play an instrumental role in advancing Wyze as an emerging leader building and bringing smart living platform experiences to the masses.

Lee was an Executive at Nike, where he served in the corporate and operating unit financial assignments including Chief Financial Officer of Nike Japan and several VP roles leading global finance & strategy functions. Most recently, he was VP of Global Marketing Finance.

“I am excited to join Wyze and bring a more innovative home experience to people around the world,” Lee said. “We have a unique opportunity to serve our passionate community globally through a platform of products and services that improves users lives. I look forward to working with Yun and the team at Wyze to make high quality, smart technology accessible to everyone, and to create exceptional value for Wyze consumers, partners, and shareholders.”

Audiencerate gets new boss
Filippo Gramigna has been appointed Chief Executive Officer at Audiencerate, a data-driven ad platform. Previously a Strategic Advisor for Audiencerate, he will leverage his understanding of the business and over 20 years of leadership experience to fuel Audiencerate’s global market growth.

Gramigna was most recently Media Strategy and Activations Director, EMEA at Lenovo, where he oversaw the in-housing process of its media capabilities. He has also been VP of Global Sales at Widespace and VP of Global Commercial Partnerships at Adform.

“I am very happy and honoured to join such a fantastic team. We have a very ambitious plan with many new product developments on the horizon, which will help to continue to support companies across the globe to enable the best data-driven advertising,” Gramigna commented. “As the industry evolves in the privacy-first era, we remain fully dedicated to keeping trust and compliance at the heart of our business, while optimising proprietary technology to bridge the gap between data providers, agencies and brands.”

Duo join IAB team
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has announced that Carryl Pierre-Drews has been named Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Jeff Murray as Vice President for Public Policy. Pierre-Drews will report directly to CEO David Cohen and Murray will report to Dave Grimaldi, Executive Vice President of Public Policy.

Pierre-Drews will be responsible for overseeing IAB’s marketing and communications organisation to ensure that IAB member companies understand the value of the organisation as a digital, marketing, and media industry thought leader and agenda-setter. Before IAB, Pierre-Drews was VP of Marketing at AT&T WarnerMedia’s Fullscreen, where she built and led the agency’s brand marketing, PR, digital/social channels, influencer engagement, and global industry activations. She has also been SVP of Strategic Marketing at USA Network.

“At IAB, Carryl will bring her passion for data-driven storytelling that connects brands with audiences,” said Cohen. “She has a track record of infusing innovation into the marketing function and building and managing exceptional teams, and I look forward to working with her as we bring new products, data, and thought leadership to our membership and the industry writ large.”

Murray will be responsible for advocating on behalf of IAB member companies before Congress and federal agencies, as well as for developing related policy, messaging, and strategy. Most recently, Murray was Senior Manager of Government Relations at Accenture, where he led Republican outreach to Congress and the Administration, counselling executives on anticipating and navigating political developments, crafting substance and strategy for healthcare and financial services technology initiatives, and aiding the company’s public sector team with business development. Before that, he served as a Counsel to the Georgia State Senate and as an Atalanta Attorney with BakerHostetler.

“IAB is an advocate for its members and promotes the benefits and value of the ad-supported internet,” said Grimaldi. “One of our top priorities is to help advance advocacy efforts to establish national privacy standards that empower both consumers and the businesses that serve them. We are confident Jeff will help create these opportunities for IAB, its member companies, and work with Congress to support a healthy digital advertising ecosystem.”

Given adds Roope to board
Nicolas Roope has joined the Board at creative brand agency Given as an Advisor and Non-exec Creative Leader. He has been hired to help foster the agency’s creative talent, ensure its creative offer is a driver for continued growth, and build its international reputation amongst marketing leaders.

Roope’s Board position will start on the 1 March under Non-executive Chair Jan Gooding, joining Co-founders, executive team members, and Non-exec Advisor Nigel Salter.

“Given pioneered brand purpose, long before it became an industry trend. It means, as well as having a ferocious commitment to driving positive change in organisations, they already have a long legacy of meaningful success stories under their belts,” said Roope. “They’re a highly effective team, but when I was asked by the board to further augment their impressive strategic and consulting capability, by enhancing their creative philosophy and approach, I jumped at the chance. So here I am.”

Senior management reshuffle at Code
Digital product studio Code Computerlove has announced Rob Jones as joint Managing Director, alongside other senior level promotions, as Louis Georgiou takes a more active role at parent company MediaCom North and focuses on Code’s new consultancy services.

Jones, who has been with the agency for more than 13 years, was previously Client Services Director. He will now oversee the delivery of Code’s core products and services, while Georgiou focuses on the agency’s burgeoning agile coaching and organisational design and transformation division.

“To have the opportunity to work alongside Louis to lead Code into its next phase of growth is incredibly exciting and I look forward to delivering a refreshed focus on the development and delivery of digital products supported by such an exceptional team,” said Jones.

“We have the capability and vision to make real our ambition to be the partner of choice for digital products and services businesses, that will enhance our reputation as one of the best, and most fun, digital product studios to work with in the UK.”

In the restructure, Gemma Handley has also been promoted to Commercial Director, while Claire Kerley has moved up to Delivery Director.

Velocix names Berkeley CEO
Anthony Berkeley has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer at video streaming company Velocix.

Berkeley was most recently Chief Operating Officer at Velocix, and he has previously held senior leadership roles in sales, product, and professional services during his 11-year tenure with the company. Prior to Velocix, he held senior positions at Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia.

“I’m excited to lead the next phase of Velocix’s growth, which will be fuelled by our investment in new video streaming and advertising technologies that maximise performance and deliver the lowest cost of ownership to customers,” said Berkeley. “Using our latest hybrid-cloud software, Velocix can deploy on-net, in the cloud, or both, opening new business opportunities for us, and giving our customers the power and flexibility to scale out their platforms more efficiently than ever before.”

Larder to direct on client services at Avantgarde
Avantgarde London, a brand experience agency, has hired Victoria Larder as Client Services Director. She will be leading the client services team, managing relationships across all Avantgarde’s accounts, including Honda, Credit Suisse, and Bridgestone.

Larder arrives at Avantgarde from Pave London, where she was Managing Director, a role she held since 2014. She also previously worked for the likes of Brandfluent and Emap. Earlier in her career she spent time as a radio presenter on commercial radio stations across the UK.

“I really like that Avantgarde is an international agency at the forefront of innovation, creating compelling experiences for brands,” said Larder. “I’m excited to get involved in ‘story doing’ as we create hybrid experiences for clients. Avantgarde are true innovators and are an incredibly nice team to be working with.”

Blue Sky brings in Sally as EVP
Annette Sally has been named Executive Vice President at independent agency Blue Sky. She will be responsible for overseeing the agency’s client relations and new business development.

Sally joins Blue Sky from 22squared, where she was Executive Director of Client Services. In that role, she oversaw clients including The Home Depot, Publix, SunTrust, Baskin Robbins, and Southeast Toyota. She was previously EVP at Leo Burnett Worldwide, Arnold NYC, and Grey Group.

“I’m very excited to be joining an independent agency that consistently elevates client partners to new heights,” said Sally. “I’m especially thrilled to be working alongside Mariana Costa to grow client business to its greatest potential. The culture and energy at Blue Sky is refreshing, and it’s invigorating to partner with such a talented leadership team.”

Turner hired by Covatic
In-app experience company Covatic has turned to Accelerated Mission’s Paul Turner to help it further its go-to-market strategy. Turner’s consulting company, Accelerated Mission, will advise the startup as it creates the necessary foundations to scale rapidly.

Turner has previously been Head of International at Invite Media (acquired by Google), VP of Sales at Adaptly (acquired by Accenture), CCO at Adbrain (acquired by The Trade Desk), and CCO at Arbor (acquired by LiveRamp).

“Covatic’s proposition is truly exciting: It is generating an understanding of physical context in order to create engaging and effortless experiences for consumers in the digital world. I can’t wait to work with the team to help take its proposition to the next level,” said Turner.

MediaVision welcomes new specialists
Holly Anderson and Zee Kazmi have joined MediaVision, a digital marketing agency, as Strategic Client Lead and SEO Executive respectively.

Anderson, who has been working for in-house eCommerce and marketing teams within fashion, beauty, and tech for over six years, will bring a strong knowledge across all platforms and an in-depth understanding of the creative side of retail, from introducing new marketing channels to producing digital marketing strategies.

“I aim to bring invaluable brand knowledge into the team which will help us to support each client’s individual needs through a multi-faceted approach,” said Anderson.

Kazmi, a Google Certified SEO, has been successfully driving SEO campaigns for popular Italian fashion and beauty retail outlets.

“I’m excited to be working with the MediaVision team on various clients, using my experience in SEO and knowledge of Digital Marketing, I aim to achieve some great results for the company,” added Kazmi.

Hires and promotions at Fingerpaint
Health and wellness marketing agency Fingerpaint has hired Laura Yoars to lead account service in the company’s Cedar Knolls, New Jersey office, while Beth Beck has been promoted to lead its Saratoga Springs, New York office and Bill McEllen elevated to lead all of Fingerpaint’s advertising offices.

Yoars will lead and manage the account service team in first-in-class service to the agency’s clients. She joins from Manifest, where she was SVP of Client Services.

Beck, who becomes a member of the Fingerpaint Operating Board, has been with the agency for over a year, having previously held the role that Yoars now has.

McEllen will lead Fingerpaint’s offices in Saratoga Springs, New York; Conshohocken, Pennsylvania; Cedar Knolls, New Jersey; and Phoenix, Arizona. He joined Finger paint in 2016 as head of the Saratoga Springs office.