Workshop week

Movers and Shakers: Zenith, Yext, SpotX, VIOOH 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) Lauren Hanrahan, Wendi Sturgis, Sophie Knight, Joanna Wardle, George Porteous, Eléonore Kuentz

Hanrahan takes up leadership role at Zenith
Publicis Media has appointed Lauren Hanrahan to the role of CEO of Zenith US, Moxie and MRY. She will be responsible for delivering transformation to Zenith’s clients, accelerating the growth of the agency, and inspiring a high-performance culture. Based in New York, she will report to Tim Jones, CEO, Publicis Media Americas, and succeeds Sean Reardon, who is leaving the company.

A 15-year veteran of Publicis Groupe, Hanrahan served most recently as global practice lead, business development and communications for Publicis Media for the past three years, during which time the company’s new business wins included GlaxoSmithKline, Marriott and MolsonCoors. Prior to this, she was EVP, corporate development, for Starcom MediaVest Group.

She said: “I’ve had the privilege to work alongside Zenith, its teams and clients for many years now,” says Hanrahan. “I am inspired by the modern marketing approach across Zenith, Moxie and MRY and am excited for the opportunity to lead these incredible brands and their people.”

Sturgis adds CEO brief to client officer role
Digital knowledge management firm Yext has named Wendi Sturgis as CEO of Yext Europe, bringing her technology and marketing leadership to the company's rapidly growing European footprint. Sturgis is currently Yext's chief client officer, and has with the company for almost eight years. In her new role, Sturgis will support the company's continued growth and direct its operations across the continent. she will also retain her chief client officer role.

Prior to Yext, Sturgis served in executive positions at Oracle, Gartner, Right Media, and Yahoo. She has also served on multiple boards, including Dailyworth.com, Student Transportation, and Step Up Women's Network. She is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor of business at Columbia Business School.

"I've believed in Yext from the very beginning, but I have never been more certain of the opportunity in front of us than I am today," she said. "Technology is changing the way consumers engage with businesses every day, and brands worldwide need to provide brand-verified answers in order to take advantage. I'm energized and excited to build on our success in Europe as we continue and accelerate our momentum there."

Knight takes up platform services role at SpotX
Video advertising and monetisation platform SpotX has hired Sophie Knight as its director, platform services for the UK.

Reporting into UK MD Ed Wale, Knight will work with media owners such as Global and ESI to develop strategic account plans for key publishers to optimise their returns from the SpotX platform. This will include best practice deployments of SpotX’s ad server and data enablement software, and identifying opportunities to drive more revenue from programmatic techniques such as private marketplaces and curated marketplaces.

She will also advise broadcast companies such as STV, Pluto TV and TV Player on strategies to optimise their approach for (over-the-top) OTT advertising, and collaborate with other RTL Group companies such as Yospace and RTL AdConnect.

Knight brings more than 12 years of video, connected TV and mobile advertising experience to the role, including four years at GroupM, where she managed premium publisher and broadcast inventory for video-on-demand, video, and mobile advertising.

This followed two years as VOD Media Manager at Xaxis and five years at Specific Media, formerly Adviva. She joins SpotX from LoopMe, where she led the supply team managing relationships with global publishers and supply-side platforms to drive results across video, mobile and rich media in her role as partnerships director.

“Sophie is perfectly placed to answer the increasingly sophisticated questions posed by the OTT companies leveraging our platform,” said Wale. “She has an excellent technical understanding of both the buy-side and supply-side approach to VOD, programmatic video, and mobile advertising. She will work with the relevant teams on each account at SpotX to share this knowledge and drive great results for major accounts.”

SpotX has also promoted Marta Lopez to senior publisher manager; Alia Cherif to senior business development manager; Ilenia Barnabe to senior account manager, supply operations; and Suzanne O’Donohoe to senior manager, demand operations.

VIOOH hires Escribano as its chief commercial officer
VIOOH, the digital out of home (DOOH) and out of home (OOH) marketplace, has appointed Natalia Escribano as its chief commercial officer.

She will be responsible for shaping and growing VIOOH’s business and partnerships with DOOH media owners, as well as building the platform’s sales team. She will also be tasked with expanding VIOOH’s footprint globally, helping the business to attract media owners to its programmatic solution for the DOOH ecosystem.

DOOH is one of the fastest growing and interactive forms of advertising with WARC expecting that global spending on DOOH will grow 10.1 per cent each year between 2018 and 2021. Similarly, Enders predicts the total programmatic DOOH ad-spend in the UK alone will reach £200m by the end of this year. By making media owners inventory more accessible and addressable to media buyers, VIOOH aims to help grow DOOH ad spend in the UK even further.

Escribano joins VIOOH following a tenure as regional head of sales for audience network at Facebook. Prior to this, she led the premium publishers’ engagement across EMEA for AppNexus, working with the likes of MailOnline, Interactive Media, eBay, Schibsted and Orange to build and execute strategies that capitalised on the growing opportunities in programmatic advertising.

After a period working in the US, Escribano has spent the last 15 years in Europe helping companies get the most from leading edge technologies. She will report to VIOOH’s CEO, Jean-Christophe Conti.

She said: “I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to innovate in the out of home world, bringing true programmatic to it. I love driving change and innovation through technology, developing client partnerships and building teams from scratch. VIOOH has ambitious plans and I am looking forward to helping deliver on them.”

Hiyacar hires three
London start-up hiyacar has added a raft of new hires to its team. Previously employed by French and Canadian car-sharing company Koolicar, Eléonore Kuentz joins as head of product and Holly Le Heux as Android developer, with the aim of securing further growth for the peer-to-peer company. In addition Andy Barnes joins from easyCar Club as member support. The appointments follow recent news of a multi-million pound investment into the company by Tokyo Investor ITOCHU Corporation.

Kuentz previously worked as a product owner for Koolicar, the first peer-to-peer company to enter the French market with keyless technology. Prior to that, she worked as a product owner for Engagement Labs, a marketing technology company.

Le Heux previously worked as a geotechnical engineer, before turning her hand to Android developing. Self-taught through online ‘coffee and code’ programmer events, she went on to help develop Android app Feed Me.

Prior to joining hiyacar, Barnes spent three and a half years on the member support team at easyCar. He was principally focused on talking to users to try to facilitate smooth peer-to-peer rentals and on-boarding new users.

Co-founder and CEO Graeme Risby said: “We’re incredibly excited to welcome Eléonore, Holly and Andy to the team. Each brings a unique set of skills to the table and as we grow, we continue to be committed to building a team from the best talent across the industry.”

With 65,000 members nationwide, hiyacar is a UK peer-to-peer car sharing company using keyless technology. The UK has approximately 32m cars, with 3m in London alone, yet 95 per cent of their time is idle. Hiyacar’s mission is to change the way people own and use cars. The online platform allows car owners to rent their cars to vetted drivers, saving time, money and hassle.

Porteous handed marketing services brief at Williams Lea tag
Marketing activation firm Williams Lea Tag has appointed George Porteous as managing director for EMEA marketing services. He brings a breadth of experience across marketing disciplines including brand advertising, digital innovation and design, and large-scale marketing transformation, at companies including Google, Sapient, Accenture Interactive, TBWA and BBDO.

Williams Lea Tag has recently announced three acquisitions in the Marketing Services space: Taylor James, a digital production house; THP, an on-demand digital content and social media content agency; and end-to-end shopper marketing activation partner, Popcorn Global.

Porteous said: “I’m delighted to join Williams Lea Tag. There’s an exciting opportunity to build on the recent acquisitions, develop further innovation in our services and to drive the growth of our marketing services business. I’m looking forward to partnering with our clients to reshape their marketing capability and ensure greater effectiveness and efficiency.”


Wardle appointed chief commercial officer at Starcount
Customer data and insight analytics consultancy Starcount has appointed Joanna Wardle as its chief commercial officer. She will be responsible for driving all aspects of client development and sales as well as Starcount’s marketing offering. Starcount was listed in the Financial Times top 30 UK Leading Management Consultancies Report 2019 and has recently grown major accounts with M&S and Holland & Barrett. Wardle will report into Starcount CEO Edwina Dunn , founder of data analytics firm, dunnhumby.

Wardle previously held the role of managing partner at OMD UK. She was responsible for leading the agency’s new business, marketing and PR agendas. Prior to this, she was a management consultant in Capgemini’s digital transformation and business analytics practice, where she worked across a wide range of leading brands, notably in the retail, luxury and FMCG sectors.

She said: “I am thrilled to join the team at Starcount. I am hugely impressed by their products as well as their vision for unlocking actionable insights for clients. Understanding what emotionally drives consumers to interact with brands, enabling prediction of purchasing behaviour is at the forefront of Starcount’s offering. This is a very exciting time to join a fast growing and innovative data-science business.”

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