Newsletter

Movers and Shakers: Headspace, Birdeye, Criteo, Akamai, and more

Tyrone Stewart

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): Val Kaplan Zapata, Sunil Madan
Bottom (L-R): Rachel Scheel, Daniel R. Hesse, Lucia Hegenbartova

Headspace names Zapata as CMO
Val Kaplan Zapata will join mindfulness and meditation-focused app Headspace as Chief Marketing Officer next month. She will join the senior leadership team and lead a cross-functional marketing team with shared responsibility for acquisition, conversion, and retention.

Zapata most recently held the role of Vice President of Growth Marketing for Hulu, where she led growth marketing efforts across the full subscriber lifecycle, including media, acquisition, lifecycle and analytics. Prior to Hulu, she led growth efforts for both direct-to-consumer and media businesses. Zapata built the business development function at Helix Sleep and worked on market operations and monetisation at Instagram.

“I am thrilled and privileged to be joining the talented team at Headspace,” said Zapata. “At this moment in time, I can’t think of a more powerful mission than spreading health and happiness to all. I look forward to helping a growing member base create healthy wellness routines that last a lifetime.”

Madan joins Birdeye as CIO
Birdeye, an experience marketing platform, has hired Sunil Madan as its Chief Information Officer. He will head up revenue operations, internal technology, and help build processes and infrastructure for scale.

Madan arrives at Birdeye from Zoom, where he served as corporate CIO. At Zoom, he was responsible for defining business transformation and executing operations strategy during a period of exceptional growth for the cloud-based video communications platform. He was also previously responsible for strategically designing and executing RingCentral's business systems architecture.

“Customer experience is so close to my heart, and I just love companies that continue to raise the bar in providing delightful experiences, while having a laser focus on categorical transformations. I’m very excited to bring my playbook to Birdeye to help the company’s founders rapidly scale a successful platform and a vision that matches exactly what multi-location businesses need to thrive,” said Madan.

Criteo brings in Scheel on DEI
Rachel Scheel has become the first Senior Vice President of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at ad tech company Criteo. She will be responsible for designing and driving Criteo's Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programme, collaborating across the organisation to launch strategic initiatives that foster a more diverse and inclusive culture.

Scheel joins Criteo with over 20 years of experience in HR leadership roles. Prior to joining Criteo, she was the Global Executive for Culture, Inclusion, Diversity and Engagement at GE Healthcare. In this role, she was responsible for driving employee engagement for the business along with the diversity and inclusion strategy, and aligning with learning and development, talent, reward, and employee life-cycle mechanisms to do so.

“In my career, I have been a passionate advocate for diversity and making a real difference both inside and outside of an organization,” said Scheel. “I am eager to drive Criteo forward in becoming equitable throughout every level of the company, driving engagement from leadership to management and employees to deliver an inclusive culture.”

Hesse takes seat at head of Akamai board
Content distribution network Akamai Technologies has appointed its current Director and Chair of the Environmental, Social, and Governance committee, Daniel R. Hesse, to Chairman of its Board of Directors. Hesse will succeed Frederic V. Salerno upon his retirement in June.

Hesse has been an Akamai board member since August 2016. He is the former CEO of Sprint and currently serves as a member of the boards at Just Capital and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside Fred. He has been a great partner in and out of the boardroom and I thank him for his leadership,” said Hesse. “I am honoured to succeed him as Akamai's chairman and look forward to helping the management team increase Akamai's role in enabling a connected world of unimagined potential.”

Dreams promotes Hegenbartova to CCO
Lucia Hegenbartova has been announced as Chief Commercial Officer at Swedish financial wellbeing platform Dreams. She will be responsible for building Dreams’ new B2B business unit dedicated to the acquisition and development of B2B partnerships, overseeing all revenue-generating functions across the sales, marketing and customer success departments, and carrying out Dreams’ international expansion strategy.

Hegenbartova joined Dreams in April 2020, serving as Country Manager for Germany and then Head of Customer Success B2B. Prior to Dreams, she was instrumental in the market launch of three other tech startups in a number of senior roles including Chief Operating Officer at Contiamo, VP of Marketing at CrossEngage, and VP of Marketing at Commercetools.

“From day one I’ve been fully on board with the company’s vision of empowering people to feel better about their money, and I’ve been really impressed with how Dreams has already flawlessly delivered on this mission by significantly, and measurably, improving the financial wellbeing of thousands of customers,” commented Hegenbartova.

“These are now really exciting times for Dreams, as the company looks to consolidate its international expansion and growth strategy, and further transform the entire industry. I’m thrilled to be able to bring this bold vision to life, and I look forward to working with some of the world’s most visionary banking partners and help them prevail at the forefront of the emerging financial wellbeing movement.”

BianRosa to take up CPO gig at N26
Mobile banking platform N26 has named Gilles BianRosa as its Chief Product Officer. Taking up the role ‘in the coming months’, he will lead all product teams based across the company's main offices and technology hubs in Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna and New York and be responsible for defining, steering, and implementing N26’s global product strategy.

BianRosa was most recently CPO at SoundClound and, before that, CPO at Samsung Electronics, where he oversaw content and services for Samsung Smart TVs globally. He was also the Co-founder and CEO of FanTV and Vuze.

“After almost two decades in Silicon Valley, I'm very pleased to be joining one of the most dynamic product teams in FinTech globally,” said BianRosa. “I look forward to applying my experience from the world of online consumer services to help N26 continue to connect authentically with its customers. Having already begun to redefine banking for customers, I believe that N26 has a unique opportunity to touch more aspects of daily life with their simple, trusted, and delightful experience.”

Freshworks recruits SaaS veteran Epstein as CMO
Stacey Epstein has been brought in as Chief Marketing Officer at Freshworks, a customer engagement software company. She will play a pivotal role in Freshworks’ next phase of growth, leading global marketing strategy for the company.

Epstein was ranked as one of the ‘Top 50 women leaders in SaaS of 2020’ by The Software Report and hailed as the ‘Global CMO of the Year’ by Enterprise IT World. She took SuccessFactors from $10m in ARR through six years of triple-digit revenue growth, an IPO, and subsequent acquisition by SAP for $3.4bn. She went on to join the ServiceMax founding team then went on to serve as CEO of Zinc, which was acquired by ServiceMax in 2019. Epstein stayed on at ServiceMax as Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer until her move to Freshworks.

“With more than 50,000 customers leveraging our modern and highly intuitive solutions, Freshworks has been quietly disrupting several enterprise SaaS categories,” said Epstein. “With a visionary founding CEO in Girish Mathrubootham, who is obsessed with building software that delights both customers and employees—along with a leadership team full of experienced veterans from Atlassian, Oracle, Veeva, and Zuora— the massive opportunity to help transform entire industries is ours to lose. I can’t wait to tell our story.”

Meier arrives to lead digital marketing at Organic
Digital agency Organic has hired Gillian Meier as its Head of Digital Marketing, a new role for the agency. She will be responsible for the creation and delivery of digital marketing strategies across all accounts and disciplines, particular focusing on improving the data and analytics performance, while working closely with Organic’s Creative, UX, and SEO leads to deliver best in class results for clients.

Meier arrives at Organic with 24 years of experience in the digital sphere. She was most recently CEO & Global Head Global Head of BlueMagnet, a business that she founded.

“I have always stood for digital excellence, white-hat, ethics and best practice. Using digital to impact the masses in a positive and meaningful way is not only a skill, but also a weapon with which we can change the world, and it is our duty as digital marketers to use this power responsibly,” said Meier. “These are the ‘Digital For Good’ values that Organic stands for, and these resonate with me to my core. I want to be part of a collective of industry leaders that are committed to driving this message forward.”

Brand Advance turns to Lawson-Wall to direct on people
Melanie Lawson-Wall has been appointed as Director of People and Wellbeing at global diversity media network Brand Advance. She will be responsible for devising and deploying a new HR and wellbeing framework for the business.

Lawson-Wall started her career as a performance coach in the education space and has provided leadership advice to businesses including Deltatre. She is the Founder of Assist Coaching and Text Coaches. Lawson-Wall is also part of the CIPD Steering Group.

“I’m excited to be joining the Brand Advance team, having closely followed the company since its inception and witnessed it go from strength to strength,” said Lawson-Wall. “I’m here to champion the employees that have been critical to Brand Advance’s success so far, and ensure that they can operate in an environment which encourages them to bring their best selves to the workplace and continues to bring their individuality to the fore.”

Bezi? added to board at Infobip
Infobip, a cloud communications company, has welcomed its new Vice President of Planning and Strategy Implementation, Marin Bezi?, to its Board of Directors. He will be responsible for optimising business management including enhancing the go-to-market framework and overseeing revenue operations.

Previously at Microsoft, Bezi? was central to product development and the force behind Microsoft's first business intelligence application. After spending eight years at Microsoft’s global HQ in Washington state, he moved to Microsoft’s EMEA HQ in London, where he led the application platform business in over 100 countries. In 2009, he returned to his native Croatia to run his own consultancy firm.

“I'm excited to be a part of Infobip's story. The feeling is very similar to the beginning of my career when I came to Microsoft. Infobip is a globally recognizable, fast-growing company full of fantastic people. It's great to be part of a company that allows people worldwide to improve the way they live and work, all with the help of technology. I am looking forward to being able to use my knowledge and experience to help Infobip realize its vision,” Bezi? said.

Flashtalking selects Tuminello as strategy VP
Michael Tuminello has been hired as Vice President of Strategy at Flashtalking, an ad management platform. He will be instrumental in bringing Flashtalking’s offerings to market globally across Europe, the US, and APAC and refining them to keep pace with a rapidly changing market.

Tuminello brings varied and deep industry experience to the new role at Flashtalking, with over 15 years in leadership at companies including Integral Ad Science, Innovid, and Sizmek.

“Having watched Flashtalking evolve and lead in the industry, I’ve always been really impressed with the breadth and depth of the offering,” said Tuminello. “I’m excited to guide our ongoing advance into the verification space, particularly as the industry seeks to establish a foundation of trust in the high-value OTT and CTV channels.”

Clarizio takes spot on board at Simpli.fi
Programmatic ad company Simpli.fi has added Lynda Clarizio to its Board of Directors.

Clarizio has previously held the positions of President of US Media at Nielsen, Executive Vice President at AppNexsus, CEO at Invision, President of Advertising.com, and Board Member at IAB, among others.

“True to its name, Simpli.fi has simplified programmatic buying and cross-channel workflow for thousands of independent agencies, enabling them to better serve brands in media planning and buying,” said Clarizio. “I am pleased to join Simpli.fi’s board and look forward to working with Frost Prioleau and Paul Harrison as Simpli.fi continues to grow and expand.”

Brand Metrics expands London team
Dhruv Roy and Sumran Kaul have joined measurement company Brand Metrics as Integrations Manager and Client Lead respectively.

Roy is an accomplished digital advertising specialist, and has held roles in a range of businesses including Microsoft, Apple, DAZN, the BBC, Zee5 and SoundCloud.

Kaul was most recently Senior Manager of Insights at News UK, where he used research and insight to advise clients when planning and executing their marketing strategy and objectives. He has also held insights leadership roles at Ofcom and ITV. 

“Dhruv and Sumran boast impressive technical knowledge and broad experience, but they are also strategic thinkers and passionate team players,” says Anders Lithner, CEO of Brand Metrics. “The response we’ve had from the UK media market has been overwhelming. Providing better insights and audience understanding and consistent, comparable brand lift measurement is resulting in larger campaign investments, winning more campaign pitches, and lower overall measurement costs.”

Kelleher added to mParticle board
mParticle, a customer data platform, has announced the arrival of Eric Kelleher to its Board of Directors.

Kelleher is currently Chief Customer Officer at Okta, where he oversees all of Okta’s customer relationships and is responsible for building its global teams and businesses for professional services, education services, success management, customer support, and subscription renewals. Prior to Okta, he spent 11 years in customer leadership roles at Salesforce. Kelleher was also the first Global Head of Customer Success at LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

“The market for data infrastructure to help teams leverage their customer data to drive personalized customer experiences is exploding,” said Kelleher. “The opportunity is enormous and they've built a great company with incredible momentum. I look forward to working with the team to help them continue to scale.”