Movers and Shakers: GroupM, SpotX, MMA, Merkle, Outbrain 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.

(Clockwise from top left) Brian Wieser, Graeme Lynch, Daniel Rieber, Stephanie Himoff, Christophe Menkeas, Jon Howard, Tim Brown, James Milne

Wieser to head up marketplace analytics at GroupM
GroupM, has appointed Brian Wieser to the role of global president, business intelligence. Reporting to global CEO Kelly Clark, Wieser will drive and expand GroupM’s thought leadership practice. He will collaborate with GroupM’s agencies and WPP’s broader network to gather, analyze and distribute actionable marketplace intelligence that gives clients insights on markets, audiences, partners and platforms, and supply and demand dynamics.

In his most recent role as senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group, Wieser led the firm’s deep coverage of agencies, video and other digital content platforms, advertising and marketing technology. Previously, Wieser was EVP, global director of forecasting for Interpublic’s Magna Global; CMO at Simulmedia; an investment banker at Lehman Brothers; and a research analyst at Deutsche Bank.

He said: “There is no better opportunity to help shape the future of marketing and advertising than this role with GroupM and WPP. The entire advertising industry is dealing with the consequences of technology-driven disruption, and every day the rules for how brands go to market are being rewritten. For nearly eight years at Pivotal, I’ve been connecting with every corner of the market to evaluate how the major players are leading – or reacting – to this change. I’m excited to use this experience and insight at GroupM and WPP to help clients grow.

Lynch takes up demanding role at SpotX
Video advertising platform SpotX has hired Graeme Lynch as its head of demand. Reporting into Ed Wale, MD of the UK and Spain, he will manage the teams working with advertisers, media agencies, brands, demand-side platforms (DSPs), and all other buyers to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of their video advertising campaigns.

Lynch brings more than 15 years of ad industry experience to the role, gained at companies including OMD, Fox Networks, Specific Media and Adobe Ad Cloud (formerly TubeMogul). Most recently, he worked at addressable TV firm Sorenson Media, where he developed the EU launch strategy, as well as managing relationships with agencies, broadcasters, and third party data providers.

SpotX’s UK Agency Development and Demand Operation teams will report to Lynch, with the responsibility to drive more revenue for the publishers, broadcasters, and app developers using SpotX in the UK. This will include advising buyers on approaches to programmatic video advertising, such as private marketplaces and curated marketplaces, as well over-the-top (OTT) television and mobile video advertising.

“Graeme brings many years of programmatic video advertising experience,” said Wale. “An industry authority, he has a wealth of senior agency contacts and knowledge that he can tap into to drive more revenue for the media owners using the SpotX platform. As well as sales leadership, he has a strong technical understanding, from the specifics of addressable TV to cross-device planning and agency structures.”

MMA Germany appoints ex-Adsquare marketing chief as country manager
The Mobile Marketing Association has appointed Daniel Rieber as its country director for Germany. Together with Mark Wächter, Rieber established the German chapter of the MMA in 2016 and has played a major role in its development as co-chair. Previously, Rieber was VP of global marketing at mobile data platform Adsquare. He is also a published author, consultant, and speaker who promotes the integration of mobile technology into marketing strategies.

Wächter retains his role as chair. He said: "I'm excited that we won Daniel for the country director role. He is an experienced and motivated manager and the perfect fit for this position. The growth of the MMA shows that mobile plays a key role for advertisers in 2018 and dictates brands the agenda for 2019."

Current figures from Nielsen show that mobile advertising spend in Germany grew by 58.6 per cent in 2018. According to eMarketer, mobile was responsible for over half of digital ad spend in 2018.

Nicolas von Sobbe, VP technology Germany at McDonald's and a board member of MMA Germany, said this growth comes with challenges: "For many companies, 2019 will certainly be an exciting year,” he said. “Mobile has to prove that there are not only technically more opportunities and a faster pace – take personalization as an example – but as important is that we be able to show that mobile is a real growth driver and will not just shift business."

Womack to head up enterprise sales at Merkle
Performance marketing agency Merkle has appointed Greg Womack to the newly-created role of vice president of enterprise sales. Womack joins the agency from Adobe, where he was director of strategic accounts.

This appointment follows a period of double-digit growth for Merkle over the past 12 months. The company said it also responds to the growing demand from brands to maximise value from existing technology investment and ensure that they have the right technology in place to answer their business needs.

In his new role, Womack’s primary focus will be to deliver people-based platforms and solutions to clients at scale across the EMEA market. He will lead the Salesforce alliance partnership, selling across Merkle’s portfolio of services including technology, solutions, data, and CX. Womack will also help to define Merkle’s broader sales strategy around marketing technology, with a focus on expanding and identifying new channels to drive people-based marketing.

In his previous role at Adobe, Womack managed a team of solution sales specialists and led the company’s top 16 headquartered accounts. He brings with him over 20 years of experience in solutions-selling and driving CRM solutions across B2C and B2B clients, with particular expertise in finance and insurance.

He said: “Of all the agencies I partnered with in my time at Adobe, Merkle was the one that stood out. In this role, I’ll not only have the opportunity to work with some truly fantastic people, but also leverage my experience in data, technology, sales and leadership across an impressive client roster. Driving transformational change for customers, and being able to deliver ground-breaking people-based solutions with this group of people, was too good an opportunity to ignore.”

Outbrain promotes four as growth continues
Native advertising platform Outbrain has announced a number of new hires. Stephanie Himoff, currently managing director of Northern Europe, it taking up a new role as vice president of global publishers and platforms. Her promotion comes off the back of a number of successful partnership deals signed in the last few months with Eurosport, The Guardian, and the Daily Express, among others.

Himoff joined Outbrain in 2012, and her leadership and strategic direction have been instrumental in growing the Northern European market. She said: “Providing the best possible technology and monetisation techniques for publishers is how Outbrain will continue to engage in successful partnerships and expand the business. I am excited to take on this role and unify the company under one global strategic vision for publishers while keeping each respective market agile and efficient.”

Stepping into Himoff’s previous role is James Milne. He brings almost a decade’s worth of knowledge and experience of effectively growing market segments and businesses. He previously successfully led the Outbrain team as commercial director, and will now oversee the strategic direction for Northern Europe.

He said: “I am determined to continue maintaining and growing our relationships with publishers built on a foundation of trust and transparency while providing advertisers with a robust network. The UK team outperformed their 2018 goals, and that diligence will bring us another great year.”

Rounding off the leadership team is Faye Liddle-Moore, who succeeds Milne as commercial director for Northern Europe, and Richard Chambers, whose new, expanded role is head of publishers for Northern Europe.

Brown takes CEO role at Magnolia
Magnolia, which specialises in digital experience and content management software, has named Tim Brown as its CEO, effective immediately. Former CEO and co-founder Pascal Mangold will continue to serve on the board of directors.

Brown brings more than two decades of experience in the marketing technology industry as both a corporate executive and investor. He has served as CEO of website testing and personalization firms Maxymiser and Touch Clarity, both of which over a period of many years grew powerful, global market positions. As CEO, Brown will be focused on driving global growth for the company.

He said: “The bottom-line is that today’s customer experience practitioners have had enough of their legacy content management systems. They’re tired of the rising costs, the complex integration challenges, and the painfully slow go-live times required for even the most basic web project. They’re searching for a better way.

“This provides a fantastic opportunity for Magnolia and our strong partner network. We’re offering a unique blend of power, speed, and connectivity that surpasses other content management systems on the market in on-prem, cloud, and headless configurations. We strive to meet the needs of digital-savvy customer experience practitioners with ambition but who don’t possess the vast resources and budget required to support many legacy platforms.”

Busy year ahead for Rovio's new PR chief
As it celebrates the 10th anniversary of Angry Birds, and with preparations ongoing for the Angry Birds movie sequel in August, Rovio Entertainment has appointed Jon Howard as it new head of communications and PR to drive the company’s external communications roadmap.

Formerly lead PR product strategist at Nintendo of Europe and most recently head of PR and influencer relations at Flaregames, Howard joins Rovio with over a decade of PR experience and will be based at the company’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland, reporting to Rovio’s CMO, Ville Heijari.

“It’s set to be a very active year and we’ve a lot of stories to tell, not least around the mega milestone that is the Angry Birds 10th anniversary,” said Heijari. “The challenge for us is to bring everything together under one narrative, which is why we’re delighted to welcome Jon to Rovio. His deep experience in setting global PR strategy and working with AAA brands is an invaluable asset, as is his thought-leadership and track record in areas such as influencer marketing.”

Menke takes up sales/ops role at DMEXCO

Digital trade fair DMEXCO has hired Christoph Menkeas its new director of sales and operations. He previously worked with Koelnmesse for more than six years as director of photokina, the photography, video and imaging trade fair. He will take over from Philipp Hilbig at the end of April.

"We would like to thank Philipp Hilbig very much for his great commitment with which he contributed to the success of DMEXCO,” said Koelnmesse CEO, Gerald Böse. “In Christoph Menke we have found an experienced successor and trade fair expert who already knows the digital economy and the trade fair business very well through his work for photokina,"

Gilmour handed connectivity brief at Colt
Colt Technology Services has appointed Mark Gilmour as its head of mobile connectivity solutions. He will report to Colt’s chief commercial officer Keri Gilder, with his role focused on leading and expanding Colt’s mobile connectivity proposition.

He has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry and joins from Ciena, where he held many roles across the business. Most recently he was the senior advisor for product line management cellular and wireless, where he was responsible for bringing products to market in the wireless/cellular segment. He has also held various roles at mobile operators, including Three, Ericsson and Hutchison.

He said: “Colt’s network assets put it in the best possible position to be able to assist MNOs to define and cement their mobile backhaul strategies. While there’s a lot of talk in the market about 5G, there are many ways in which businesses can be making the most of their 4G networks. Colt can be a key partner in this space, and I’m excited to be joining the business at a pivotal time where many are looking to get the most out of their cellular networks to be ready for whatever the future may hold.”