Movers and Shakers: Magic Leap, Adimo, Simple, AppLovin, 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.

(Clockwise from left) Peggy Johnson, Gavin Stirrat, Carrie Roso, Scott Schwanbeck, Laura Fordham, Basil Shikin

Magic Leap turns to tech veteran Johnson to lead its business
Peggy Johnson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer at mixed reality startup Magic Leap. Starting the role on 1 August 2020, Johnson will utilise her more than 30 years of technology and business experience to accelerate Magic Leap’s growth and bring transformative enterprise solutions to market.

Johnson joins the startup from Microsoft, where she oversaw the development, collaboration, and growth of Microsoft’s relationships with external partners and enterprises of all sizes around the world in her role as Executive Vice President of Business Development. She also led Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, M12.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2014, she spent 24 years at Qualcomm, holding various leadership positions and serving as a member of Qualcomm’s Executive Committee. Today, she sits on the Board of Directors at Blackrock.

Magic Leap’s technological foundation is undeniable, and there is no question that has the potential to shape the future of XR and computing,” said Johnson.

“As CEO, I look forward to strategically building enduring relationships that connect Magic Leap’s game-changing technology and pipeline to the wide-ranging digital needs of enterprises of all sizes and industries.”

Stirrat and Fieldhouse arrive at Adimo
Shoppable marketing company Adimo has turned to Gavin Stirrat as its interim Chief Operations Officer while current COO, Gill Smith, takes some time away to start a family. Alongside Stirrat, David Fieldhouse has come onboard as an advisor.

Stirrat, who will be responsible for the operations, product, and customer teams at Adimo, brings over 20 years’ experience into the role. Prior to his latest gig, he was Vice President of the Partner Services team in Europe for OpenX. He has also held leadership roles at, Millennial Media, and StrikeAd.

“From the very first conversation I had with Richie (Adimo’s CEO and founder), I was impressed with their commitment to making the internet more actionable and accountable for FMCG/CPG advertisers,” said Stirrat. “Adimo solves that problem, which is more relevant than ever right now with more consumers turning to the internet for an ever-increasing amount of their shopping needs.”

Fieldhouse will advise the business as it increases its work with agencies and grows internationally. He brings experience from his time with companies including Mediacom and Adsquare, where he led the global commercial team. He has also built and sold several companies, including Ad-X Tracking which was sold to Criteo in 2013.

“I’m delighted to be a part of helping grow the Adimo proposition amongst agencies both in the UK and abroad,” said Fieldhouse. “Its technology and clear proposition delivers measurable benefits for advertisers and agencies and will be scaling rapidly this year.”

Simple appoints Roso to lead marketing
Carrie Roso has joined US digital bank Simple as Director of Marketing. In her role, she will lead all of the marketing, organic and paid customer acquisitions, lifecycle marketing, and public relations.

Roso joins Simple from Umpqua Bank, where she most recently served as Director of Brand Marketing. Before her almost 10-year stint at Umpqua, she spent nine years at Wells Fargo.

“Simples size allows it to be nimble and remain very close to the customer,” said Roso. “That ability to evaluate what resonates with customers, try new ideas and do it quickly really appeals to me.”

Four leadership changes at AppLovin
AppLovin, a mobile games firm, has made a range of appointments to its leadership team. Basil Shikin has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer, Victoria Valenzuela has been named Chief Legal and Corporate Secretary, Keith Kawahata arrives as Head of Games, and Deepak Gupta is the new Chief Revenue Officer.

Shikin has been promoted from his role as Vice President of Engineering, where he led the team responsible for developing the company’s distributed systems.

Valenzuela will lead the legal department and advice the company on legal and regulatory issues. She joins from Machine Zone and has legal expertise spanning 20 years.

Kawahata arrives with over 10 years’ experience managing, optimising, and monetising mobile games, most recently as Head of Mobile at He will be responsible for advising across all AppLovin studios and for extending beyond AppLovin’s platform history to now include amplification on the game development and product side.

Gupta will focus on user acquisition for studio games across all platforms. He has more than a dozen years of gaming industry experience, most recently as Chief Revenue Officer at Machine Zone, where he was responsible for marketing, engagement and retention of hit games like Game of War and Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire.

“We are excited to expand our executive team with experienced mobile gaming leaders who have contributed to the industry’s development and strength,” said Adam Foroughi, Chief Executive Officer of AppLovin. “We are fully committed to the development of mobile games, as shown through the strategic investments and acquisitions we’ve made over the last year, and these new leaders will be instrumental in driving our business forward.”

CvE hires Fordham to lead business strategy
Laura Fordham has taken on the role of Director of Business Strategy and Development at performance marketing agency Control v. Exposed (CvE). Reporting to Paul Frampton, CvE President Europe, she will play a crucial role in driving the growth of the agency.

Fordham arrives with over 15 years of experience within the media advertising and technology industry. Most recently, she led the commercial strategy and execution across FreeWheel Advertisers software portfolio and technology business.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with a pioneer in digital marketing that Is helping so many clients evaluate their marketing technology and strategy to better suit the ‘new normal’ and business post-Covid19,” said Fordham. “As a fully remote and transparent agency model, CvE is able to spend less time adjusting to this themselves and invest the time and focus on partnering with leading platforms and brands. Time spent now re-setting will be time well spent going forward.”

Schwanbeck takes top seat at Acceptable Ads Exchange
Acceptable Ads Exchange (AAX), a programmatic ad exchange, has appointed Scott Schwanbeck as its Chief Executive Officer.

He joins AAX from Yieldmo, where, as executive vice president of business development, he played an integral role in transforming the company from a fledgling startup to a recognised industry leader. Schwanbecks additional experience includes stints at Vizu (acquired by Nielsen), (acquired by Facebook), and IGN Entertainment (acquired by News Corp).

“Media companies continue to be faced with the dual challenge of seeking fair value for their content, while ensuring a positive, less intrusive ad experience for their readers,” Schwanbeck said. “AAX has quickly established itself as a leader in this complex challenge and Im honoured to steer the company through the next phases of its evolution.”

Croud names Bielski UK MD
Emil Bielski has been appointed UK Managing Director at Croud, a digital marketing agency. Reporting to CEO and co-founder Luke Smith, he will sit on the agency’s new operational board and focus on clients, data and insights, planning, e-commerce and Google Marketing Platform.

Bielski brings 15 years’ experience in digital marketing to Croud, most recently serving as Chief Strategy Officer at iProspect, where he led all craft disciplines, data teams and strategic planning.

“What excites me most about Croud is how customer-centric it is already – from the Serpico in-housing proposition through to the Croudie network, Croud delivers excellence at speed for clients,” said Bielski. “The Croud operational model is the template for the agile agency of the future. The ability to stay ahead of change, rather than simply follow it will be the difference between agencies such as Croud – which will thrive in the new era – and those that are left behind. It’s a great time to be joining the team.”

Rogers to head up marketing at Digital River
Digital River, an eCommerce solutions provider, has named Ted Rogers as its Chief Marketing Officer. He will report directly to Digital River’s CEO, Adam Coyle.

Rogers has been a key executive at Digital River for three years, serving first as Vice President and General Manager of MyCommerce, Digital River’s full-service eCommerce platform for subscriptions, software and services clients. He then became Digital River’s Vice President of Global Expansion and Fulfilment Operations, responsible for leading global expansion strategy and managing solutions for physical and digital fulfilment worldwide. In early 2020, Rogers took on the position of Vice President of Strategic Marketing before being promoted into his current role.

“I am proud to be taking on this role at Digital River during such an exciting time for the company. Digital River has opened itself up to new marketplaces and ecosystems, allowing us to enter new and exciting verticals,” Rogers said. “Now is the time to focus on communicating our value and I look forward to working with the team as we continue to drive growth for our customers and partners.”

Hallam makes a pair of senior promotions
Jack Brown has been promoted to Head of Paid Media and Elliot Haines to Head of SEO at digital marketing agency Hallam.

Brown, who worked in PPC for more than four years, will lead the paid media department as it looks to continue to increase the service offering, including PPC automation and machine learning.

Haines will take over from Charlotte Tomlinson, who was promoted to Media Director. He will lead the SEO team forward as they look to work more collaboratively with Hallam’s UX and technical teams.

“I’d like to say a massive congratulations to Elliot and Jack who we’re confident are the right people to lead two of our biggest departments going forward,” said Tomlinson.

“These appointments will mean we can take our offering to the next level in a competitive landscape where digital transformation is disrupting the search industry. Our strength is in our people, and we’re delighted that these two, who have both grown at Hallam, are now stepping into key positions within the company.”

Three senior level appointments made at Access
Creative and digital transformation agency Access has recruited Lewis Counsell as Head of Quality Assurance, Richard Sheppard as Senior Developer, and Dave Riches as Senior Front End Developer.

Counsell joins having worked as a testing consultant across a range of sectors and, prior to that, holding the position of Senior Member of Technical Staff (QA) at VMware.

Sheppard, a former member of the US Air Force, has worked within the technology sector for more than 30 years. Most recently, he worked at UBS as a Drupal Developer. Some of his other experience comes from Capgemini and Aroq.

Riches joins Access from Mirum Agency. He began his career as a front end developer at TUI Travel before moving to NDP.

“I’m extremely proud to be attracting such exceptional talent into the agency, which we’ve been able to do by providing a supportive culture, rewarding client work, and flexible remote working across the UK and beyond,” said Digital Director and co-owner of Access, Mark Hope. “Dave, Lewis and Richard have all built up impressive reputations and expertise in their respective fields and they will be a fantastic asset to our expanding teams and service offering.”