Movers and Shakers: GroupM, M&C Saatchi, Merkle, Evil Geniuses 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): Sheila Puertollano, Sophie Lewis, Floris Oranje, Susan Kingston-Brown, Natalie Dawson, Marc Bignell

GroupM UK makes senior search and programmatic appointments
GroupM UK has appointed Sheila Puertollano as Search Operations Director and Matthew Roberts as Programmatic Operations Director for GroupM Services in the UK. The duo will be responsible for leading the GroupM Services Search and Programmatic communities respectively, and for driving excellence in these digital disciplines within the five GroupM agencies as part of the recently-formed GroupM Services. 

Puertollano joins GroupM from Entain. She has over 12 years’ experience in digital, specialising in paid search. She has worked across many industries, from retail to gambling, and held various roles both at clients and in agencies in companies incuding iProspect and Debenhams. 

Roberts joined GroupM in 2014 and has held various roles across the group. His most recent role was Director of Operations at Xaxis (GroupM).  

"I am confident that Sheila and Matthew are the right people to lead and form the future of GroupM Services Practice Squads and drive excellence in digital,” said Kirsti Wenn, Managing Partner, GroupM Services. “Matthew's extensive experience in Digital Operations and deep programmatic knowledge will be hugely valuable to \GroupM Services, and I'm thrilled that Sheila has joined us, bringing her passion and varied experience in Search both in agencies and at clients.” 

Lewis to head up strategy at M&C Saatchi
M&C Saatchi has appointed Sophie Lewis, the award-winning strategist behind campaigns including Boots’ ‘Here come the girls’ and Sainsbury’s ‘Live well for less’, as its Chief Strategy Officer.

Lewis joins M&C Saatchi from dentsumcgarrybowen, where she was responsible for the overall strategic vision for the agency, leading new business and working on brands iincluding Amex, Halfords, and Heinz. She also held the additional role of EMEA Head of Strategy and Transformation, overseeing the agency’s strategy community across Europe.

In her new role at M&C Saatchi, Lewis will partner with CEO, Camilla Kemp and Chief Creative Officer, Ben Golik, to champion the strategic and creative output of the London agency. She has been tasked with driving and demonstrating creative effectiveness to deliver meaningful change.

Reporting to Kemp, Lewis will lead a new strategic triple-threat at the agency, flanked in her position by Richard Storey in the newly-created role of Head of Behaviour Change, and James Calvert as Chief Data Officer. Storey is the strategic brain behind the decade-long Change4Life programme, and a multiple APG and IPA winner. Calvert has most recently driven the digital overhaul of the revitalised Costa Club loyalty programme and leads data advisory and analysis across a number of clients, including Virgin Media O2, to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of marketing spend.

Lewis began her career at DFGW and went on to spend seven years at BBH. In 2006 she joined Mother, where she led planning for the original Boots ‘Here come the girls’ work. At AMV, she developed Sainsbury’s ‘Live well for less’ strategy, as well as the brand’s acclaimed ‘Christmas in a day’ campaign in 2013,. Her tenure on the Sainsbury’s business coincided with an extended period of ongoing business growth. She was also the planner for the Bodyform/Libresse ‘No blood’ campaign which paved the way for ‘Viva la vulva’.

She is a member of the APG Committee, a former IPA and Campaign Woman of Tomorrow, and the founder of the Women’s Safety Project, a group working on practical ways to keep women safe.

“Sophie is an amazingly original strategist, obsessed with the impact that creativity and creative strategy can have on brands and businesses,” said M&C Saatchi CEO, Camilla Kemp. “She joins our leadership team at a critical time, when the drivers of brand choice are rapidly evolving – from a brand’s ESG commitments through to the impact their communications have on mental health. Given her wealth of commercial client experience, she is perfectly placed to help us leverage our behaviour change expertise to help brands of all kinds develop work with a positive impact on society.”

Merkle hires Oranje to lead Salesforce practice
Customer experience management (CXM) firm Merkle has hired Floris Oranje as Salesforce Practice Lead for Merkle and Dentsu’s CXM Service Line in the UK.

In this new role, Oranje will lead and evolve Merkle’s Salesforce practice in the UK market, to help clients achieve the maximum value from their investment, across implementation, integration with their existing tech stack, and ongoing management to deliver and accelerate their customer experience transformation programmes. Dentsu has more than 1,300 Salesforce-trained staff and over 2,000 Salesforce certifications, providing customer experience transformation solutions that are aligned with Salesforce cloud capabilities.

Oranje moves to Merkle from his role as Salesforce Practice Lead at BluprintX, where he was responsible for helping B2B businesses achieve growth from their Salesforce solutions. Prior to this, he was Managing Director, Digital Marketing for Dept Agency, where he founded and built the agency’s Marketing Automation division, leading teams of strategists, consultants and technologists in designing and delivering omnichannel strategies on platforms such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

He said: “It is an incredibly exciting time to be leading Merkle’s Salesforce practice in the UK. We’re uniquely positioned to help clients get the most value from Salesforce’s cloud capabilities, across Marketing, Commerce, and Core Cloud for both well-known B2C brands and B2B leaders.”

Hauserman to head up marketing at Evil Geniuses
Global eSports and gaming entertainment brand Evil Geniuses (EG) has appointed former WarnerMedia executive Krystal Hauserman as Vice President and Global Head of Marketing. Hauserman is the newest member of a diverse lineup of talented women at the company led by Forbes “30 Under 30” honoree and CEO of EG, Nicole LaPointe Jameson. 

In her new role, Hauserman will leverage her expertise in the entertainment industry, including prominent roles at WarnerMedia and Fullscreen, to build on EG’s 20-year legacy. As gaming continues to be the dominant form of entertainment among young adults, EG said it is focused on creating, nurturing and sustaining an inclusive global gaming community and producing unforgettable entertainment experiences for it, while ensuring the spirit of competition continues to be at the company’s core. 

Hauserman brings more than 15 years’ experience to EG’s leadership team. At Fullscreen, she led the team responsible for the company’s brand transformation, along with the launch of its first-ever marketing partnership function, securing partnerships with brands such as Lyft, Bumble, Red Bull, Google, Snap and Meta. Following Fullscreen’s acquisition by AT&T in 2019, Hauserman helped lead newly-formed WarnerMedia’s digital transformation, developing and launching GenZ-focused campaigns for sister brands HBOMax, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros., CNN and others.

Most recently, she helped the NBA launch the league’s worldwide ‘That’s Game’ campaign and the brand’s first-ever ‘NBA House’, bringing together NBA legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, superstar digital creators like Griffin Johnson and RDCWorld, and iconic brands like Sony PlayStation, Beats by Dre and Oreo to create hundreds of pieces of original content in celebration of the 2021 Playoffs. 

“Evil Geniuses and the company’s bold leader, CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson, are unwavering in the commitment to build a values-led gaming entertainment organization and disrupt an industry that, frankly, needs some disruption,” said Hauserman. “Nicole is an inspiring ‘dream big or go home’ leader who is wicked smart, deeply understands the complexities of the industry, and is determined to make a lot of noise as we expand beyond competitive play into a multi-faceted global entertainment brand. I love that and am incredibly excited to join the mission.”

Four C-level appointments for Clim8
Climate impact investment app Clim8 has announced a number of C-level appointments across technology, marketing and operations to drive rapid growth and product innovation. 

Clim8 empowers consumers to make a positive impact on the planet by investing in solutions to climate change, rather than investing in greenwash funds that are branded as “ethical” or “sustainable”. The app makes it easy to invest in actively selected portfolios under six categories – Green Energy, Clean Mobility, Climate Technology, Sustainable Food, Water Systems and the Circular Economy. With a 25 per cent return on its most popular portfolio in the first 12 months, part of Clim8’s mission is to dispel the myth that people need to give up returns to invest in companies that are making a positive impact on the planet.

There are four new additions to the team. Leon Ho joins as Chief Product Officer from fintech Monese, where, in the same role, he led on the development of the product, enabling Monese to become the first to offer cash depositing across 10 countries in the EU. He has over 20 years’ experience in building products for startups and multinational firms across financial services and technology, including Amazon and JPMorgan.

Peter Kasprowicz joins Clim8 as Chief Technology Officer. He has a strong track record in clean energy and financial services, with almost 20 years’ experience. Previously, he co-founded and led on technology at Kingo, a pioneer in off-grid solar energy in Latin America. Earlier in his career he was a Director of Fixed Income Trading at Credit Suisse. He holds a PhD in physics from the University of Oxford and a MSc in physics from Imperial College. 

Andrew Cocker takes up the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), following six years at Expedia where he was Senior Director, Global Brand & Innovation, responsible for driving a new brand strategy and culture change, as well as leading an innovation unit. In his previous Expedia role, he ran advertising, PR and customer insights across the EMEA region. Prior to this, he was CMO of Skyscanner. Early in his career he worked for the internet services disruptor Freeserve (now part of EE), before moving to Yahoo!, where he became European Marketing Director.

Megan Olwen Williams joined Clim8 last year as VP Operations and Chief of Staff, from Monese, where she was Chief of Staff. There, she helped grow the company from an early startup to a scale-up with 2m customers, expanding its operation into Europe and workforce to 450 employees. Prior to Monese, she was instrumental to scaling Student.com, a global student housing marketplace, managing a $60m fundraising round.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome on board some world-class individuals to help propel us – and our customers – to the next level,” said Clim8 Founder and CEO, Duncan Grierson. “As a rapidly expanding team with backgrounds at leading companies like JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Expedia and Amazon, we have the breadth of experience and industry knowledge to focus on innovating to help our community have a positive climate impact, as well as delivering great returns to investors.”

Valles to run EMEA for Sitecore
Digital experience management software firm Sitecore has appointed Jose Valles as President of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.

Valles joins Sitecore in a year where the company announced a $1.2bn investment plan to accelerate its growth, which has generated four acquisitions including Four51, Boxever, Moosend and Reflektion, and sparked record growth for the company.

Valles will be responsible for driving the overall sales strategy and growth for the EMEA region for Sitecore. Earlier this year the region touted an expanded presence in key markets  including France, Italy, Spain and Greece – all of which will fall under his remit.

Valles joins Sitecore from SAP, where he served multiple roles in the EMEA South region, leading both the CX and the Cloud ERP businesses. He also previously held executive positions in the telco industry in companies including Du, STC, and Telefonica, starting and scaling new businesses across the globe.

“The Sitecore footprint in the EMEA region is expanding quickly and we need strong leadership to steer the growing team,” said Sitecore Chief revenue Officer, Monte Wilson. “Valles brings a strong passion for and knowledge of the region, and we are very pleased to have him on board.”

UM hires Kingston-Brown as Chief Product Officer
Media agency UM has promoted Susan Kingston-Brown to the role of CEO for its International Client Services (ICS) division. She joined UM as Chief Product Officer for EMEA in March 2019

Reporting to Chris Skinner, UM President for EMEA, Kingston-Brown will be responsible for coordinating global accounts across markets. Her remit is to ensure each is able to access the full spectrum of integrated media and marketing services – including data, analytics and strategy – across each region in which they operate. She will be tasked with bringing international teams closer together to unite them in a shared business culture, with agility at its core.
She said: “With so many fascinating and ambitious multinational clients in the portfolio, I’m thrilled to take on this role. I already have an exceptional team in place, and together we’re going to supercharge innovation and strategic excellence to drive business outcomes for our clients. I’m going to make 2022 a landmark year for our brands.”

Ozone hires three
Digital advertising platform, The Ozone Project, has announced a number of role changes and new hires within its commercial team. In a move reflective of the increasingly upstream, more integrated conversations Ozone is having with its agency partners, Natalie Dawson has been appointed to lead these discussions in the new role of Strategic Agency Sales Director. Meanwhile, Emma Cranston is moving into the expanded role of Client Services Director to lead the platform’s customer service and innovation efforts in key areas such as campaign measurement – Cranston spearheaded last year’s launch of the Ozone Attention Index.

Both will continue to report into Craig Tuck, Ozone’s Chief Revenue Officer, alongside Jacque Chadwick in the role of Agency Commercial Trading Director and Sophie Raptis, who as Ozone’s Client Director, heads up collaboration and integrations with advertisers directly.

Angela Decube is also joining Ozone as Senior Agency Sales Partner, in the Agency Sales team led by Chadwick. Prior to joining Ozone, she held a variety of commercial roles at Hearst, most recently as Agency Director.

These changes follow a significant period of growth for the Ozone workforce, which grew by more than 50 per cent during 2021, and is expected to double in size by the end of 2022.

“Whether it’s in the shape of a new role or a new hire, each of the changes within our team are critical for delivering the very best Ozone experience experience for our agency and advertiser customers,” said Tuck. “Across the course of the past 12 months, we have focused on deepening the relationships we have with our clients, embedding Ozone's platform into their business, all while demonstrating the effectiveness of our premium marketplace in driving real and tangible results. As we enter a new year, I am excited about the prospect of delivering even more for our customers as Natalie, Emma and Angela embrace their new roles.”

Berkowitz takes up marketing and comms role at Mediaocean
Omnichannel advertising platform Mediaocean has named David Berkowitz as Senior Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Communications. Leveraging decades of experience across top strategic marketing posts, Berkowitz will oversee key functions for Mediaocean, including global public relations, analyst relations, corporate messaging and content.

Prior to founding and running his own consultancy, Serial Marketer, Berkowitz’s roles included Head of Marketing at Storyhunter and Chief Strategy Officer at Sysomos. He was also Chief Marketing Officer at MRY, leading efforts for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Visa and Pizza Hut. Prior to that, Berkowitz was Vice President at 360i, crafting mobile marketing strategies for brands like Bravo, Coca-Cola and Oreo. He has also held leadership posts at iCrossing, Unicast, and research firm eMarketer, now Insider Intelligence.  

Berkowitz’s arrival follows Mediaocean’s acquisition of Flashtalking, establishing an independent ad tech platform with over $200bn in annualized media spend and more than 1 trillion monthly ad impressions. 

“Heading into 2022 – following an active year of acquisition, integration, and innovation – the goal of unifying our product offerings and value proposition will be very important  for Mediaocean and our customers,” said Mediaocean CMO, Aaron Goldman. “David has the experience necessary to excel in this role and help us to create clear messaging frameworks that emphasize the robust market opportunity and commitment to delivery for our clients.” 

Bignell joins the7stars As Commercial Director
Independent media agency, the7stars, has hired Marc Bignell as its Commercial Director. Reporting to Managing Partner Liam Mullins, Bignell will work alongside the7stars’ Head of Trading David Counsell, and will be responsible for implementing innovative trading solutions that drive performance for advertisers.

Bignell brings over 30 years of experience to his new role. Before joining GroupM, he was Chief Commercial Officer at Miroma, where he oversaw a portfolio of media and technology companies. Prior to this he spent more than 20 years with Omnicom Media Group, most recently as Worldwide Chief Investment Officer, followed by a stretch at Yahoo as Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He said: “Both as a competitor and as a media owner, I have admired the work of the7stars and their commitment to full transparency for clients whilst delivering best in market media solutions. I am looking forward to working with the team at the7stars and I can’t wait to get stuck in and continue that mission."

Former Florida Assistant Attorney General Kercher takes up privacy role at Digital Envoy
Digital Envoy, which specialises in privacy-sensitive IP-based geolocation and IP intelligence, has appointed Michael Kercher to the role of General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer. 

Kercher, a 20-year veteran in legal and global data privacy leadership, brings a track record of success as a corporate counsel, strategic planner, and program manager. His professional journey includes serving as Assistant Attorney General for the state of Florida before moving to the private sector. A series of roles from Deputy General Counsel to General Counsel to CPO and Global Privacy Counsel in Fortune 200 companies has imbued Kercher with a deep knowledge of global data privacy and a vast catalogue of experience on which Digital Envoy will draw to enrich its clients’ decision making and innovation.

Kercher will work with senior management to guide the business through the ongoing process of integrating its latest acquisition, Outlogic, a provider of location data for the retail, real estate and financial markets. Kercher is a highly accomplished corporate counsel with extensive experience at the intersection of technology, data, and privacy. He will be working out of the Atlanta office.

“I am thrilled to welcome Mike to the Digital Envoy team,” said Digital Envoy CEO, Jerrod Stoller. “One of the main priorities when finalising the Outlogic acquisition was to hire a CPO capable of ensuring the client and company needs are aligned. Mike is a respected and strategic thinker in the privacy and legal landscape. I am confident that he will bring new strengths to Digital Envoy that will help drive the company forward.”

Acceleration Partners President Wool takes up CEO role
Global partnership marketing agency, Acceleration Partners, has named its current President, Matt Wool, as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. 

Founder Robert Glazer, who has served as the CEO of the organization since its inception, will transition to the role of Chairman of the Board, where he will continue to play a vital role in leading the company's strategic direction, leading M&A, and supporting product and service development, and leadership development programs. 

Wool is a ten-year veteran of Acceleration Partners. He started in 2011 as VP of Client Services, before moving into the role of General Manager and becoming President in 2018. Since then, he has spearheaded exponential growth and led the effort that resulted in private equity investment from Mountaingate Capital. In addition, he successfully guided the two recent acquisitions of Streamline Media and R.O.EYE. 

"This is an exciting moment for the company and our customers,” said Glazer. “Matt’s experience, track record, and commitment to our mission and values make him the perfect person to lead AP through its next phase as the partnership marketing industry continues its rapid growth and evolution. We’re incredibly fortunate to have him taking over the reins as AP’s next chief executive.”  

Other moves…
Digital agency Ultimedia has appointed Craig Johnson as its CEO as they move into an exciting new period of growth in the digital experience space. Johnson brings almost 30 years experience helping enterprise-level brands to elevate their digital performance, having spent his career working at companies including JWT, the Guardian Media Group and Rippleffect. In his new role, he will oversee the agency’s growth in the UK and new markets.

Marketing agency Aisle Rocket has hired Steve Slivka as its new Chief Experience Officer. Slivka brings to the role more than 20 years’ experience of driving performance through best-in-class through-the-line marketing experiences. Before joining Aisle Rocket he spent seven years as Chief Creative Officer at Edelman Chicago, where he built cross-functional teams and creative strategies to make Chicago the second largest creative team in the global network.

Conversational AI firm Conversica has appointed Mark Cuny as Chief Financial Officer and Ella Dillon as Chief Customer Officer. Cuny has more than 25 years of financial and operational experience with both public and private enterprise software companies varying in size from startup to Fortune 500 companies. Dillon brings her 20 plus years of expertise in customer experience design to accelerate loyalty driven retention and expansion for fast growing pre-IPO Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies. The company also appointed Lewis Barr as Vice President of Legal and General Counsel. He has more than 20 years of experience providing legal and compliance leadership at growing tech companies.   

Content creation platform Foleon has hired Ceasar Chevalier as Senior Vice President of Global Sales. His responsibilities will encompass sales team leadership, setting a growth strategy to propel the company forward, and contributing to its marketing and customer strategies. He brings over 10 years’ sales and leadership experience to the role, having led Enterprise SaaS growth in the US while working alongside executive partners and board members in EMEA and Australia. He has also spent years as the P&L owner of large business units and growth regions for organizations.