Newsletter

Movers and Shakers: Headspace, Tumblr, BBDO, Social Chain, 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.

(Clockwise from left) John Legend, Terry City, Jason Rosario, Steven Bartlett, Felicity Griffiths, Vaibhav Odhekar, Rachel Howe, Jack Smith, Yosef Johnson

John Legend takes charge of music at Headspace
Meditation app Headspace has appointed award-winning singer-songwriting megastar John Legend as its first-ever Chief Music Officer. Legend will work closely with Headspace Studios, Headspace's new multi-platform studio creating and distributing mindful living content, to harness the power of music to enhance members' mindfulness journeys.

Legend’s appointment coincides with the Headspace’s launch of ‘Focus’ mode, which is aimed at helping its members to tune into what matters most to them.

“I'm so excited to join the Headspace team as Chief Music Officer,” said Legend. “Songwriting and performing requires an incredible amount of mental focus, concentration, and present moment awareness. When I'm able to cancel out external noise and tune into a state of relaxed concentration, that's when the creativity flows.  That's why I'm looking forward to helping others learn how to focus on what's important to them - and I'll be bringing some of my friends in the music industry along with me for the ride.”

Tumblr looks to City on entertainment partnerships
Terry City has been hired as Vice President of Entertainment Partnerships at Tumblr. He will work to redefine advertising partnerships with the entertainment and technology industries. In addition to advertising opportunities, City will work closely with the product team to guide the creation of new advertising products that allow for the development of bespoke campaigns for some of the industry’s biggest entertainment properties.

City arrives at Tumblr from Vice Media Group, where he held a similar role leading entertainment and technology partnerships. He has also held senior executive roles at Group Nine Media, Buzzfeed, Yahoo, and more.

“Tumblr is the pulse of the internet, and where Gen Z is discovering their next favourite thing, that includes all kinds of entertainment fandoms – from superheroes to anime and everything in between, which made taking on this new role exciting,” said City. “Tumblr as a brand has always been associated with fandom, and reinvigorating our relationships with film studios, TV networks, streaming platforms and other providers is critical as we look to partner with companies in the entertainment space.”

Rosario becomes diversity chief at BBDO
BBDO Worldwide, an advertising agency network, has recruited Jason Rosario as its Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Based in New York and reporting to President & CEO Andrew Robertson, he will partner with senior leadership to impact agency diversity policy and plans, recruitment, retention, training, education, and leverage of the network's work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, in the network, the industry, and society at large.

Rosario has worked with top clients including Netflix, Yahoo!, Spotify, Verizon Media Group, and Huffington Post, helping brands identify inclusive practices at the enterprise level. In 2017, he founded The Lives of Men, a social impact creative agency that explores themes around masculinity, mental health and culture. Prior to this, he worked for Verizon Media Group as Manager of Global Diversity & Inclusion and was the Executive Producer and Host of the Yahoo! News original web series ‘Dear Men’.

“We have a unique opportunity to transform BBDO, and the advertising industry at-large, through an intersectional and equitable lens. We want to continue to evolve our agency's mindset to foster a new wave of inclusive culture and accountability, while, of course, doing great and resonant work for our clients. I'm excited to take on this next challenge at such an iconic agency and to see our progress in action,” said Rosario.

Social Chain says goodbye to Bartlett and McGregor
Steven Bartlett, CEO and Co-founder, and Dominic McGregor, Co-founder, have both decided to step down from their positions at social-first marketing agency Social Chain. Wanja S. Oberhof, currently Co-CEO of Social Chain will retain his position as CEO.

Bartlett and McGregor founded Social Chain in Manchester in 2014 with the aim of creating a social media publishing and marketing company that would disrupt the traditional marketing industry at a time when social media was undervalued and untapped. Now, Social Chain boasts an owned media reach of over 2bn views per month and has around 750 employees across Manchester, Berlin, London, New York, and Munich. In October 2019, it merged with Lumaland.

“Social Chain was conceived on a small desk in the backroom of the uni I had just dropped out of in Manchester. I was 20, full of wild dreams, and I believed we could take on the world,” said Bartlett. “What started as a crazy and sometimes ridiculed idea, in the mind of a few drop-out underdogs, at a time when people didn’t believe in the potential of this new thing called social media, turned into the most unforgettable ride of a lifetime.

“As I write this, at 27, we have more than 700 Social Chainers around the world, a world-beating team, we went public last year, we are the best at what we do, and we’ve just posted record numbers. The company is showing unbelievable momentum and I remain Social Chain's biggest fan, supporter, and believer.”

Johnson chosen by Group Nine to lead content studio
Group Nine Media, one of the biggest video publishers in the US, has named Yosef Johnson President of its in-house branded content studio, Brandshop. He will oversee Brandshop's full service creative development team across video, written, design, photography, talent, and creative operations for advertising partners. He will be elevated to Group Nine’s executive leadership team.

Johnson most recently served as Senior Vice President and Head of Brandshop, where he led the branded content studio across creative strategy and production. Prior to the formation of Group Nine in 2016, he was one of the early employees of NowThis and, before that, worked in Creative Account Management and Strategy at Wieden+Kennedy NYC.

“Group Nine is the leading digital media company reaching young people on the platforms where they spend their time – from Snapchat to Instagram, TikTok and beyond,” said Johnson. “I am thrilled to expand my role and to continue to help leverage Group Nine’s deep audience insights and best-in-class creative practices to authentically and thoughtfully connect advertisers to Group Nine’s massive audience.”

DoubleVerify selects Smith to lead on product
Jack Smith has been hired as Chief Product Officer for Demand Solutions at digital media measurement firm DoubleVerify (DV). In the newly created role, he will be responsible for advancing DV’s agency and brand advertiser solutions portfolio, with a focus on high-growth emerging channels, such as CTV. Smith will also lead all strategy and implementation efforts related to scaling the company’s product development and commercialisation activities.

Most recently, Smith was Global Chief Product Officer for Investment at GroupM, where he spearheaded product and technology design, media investment, data management, finance and other critical media agency functions. He also led the global blockchain strategy, made strategic investment and M&A recommendations, and led numerous innovation projects at the company. Prior to this, he was Chief Product Officer at Simulmedia.

“DV is a trusted partner for many of the world’s largest brands and media platforms,” said Smith. “Given my extensive background in digital media and advertising, I’m well aware of the issues around transparency, brand reputation and performance that global brand advertisers face. DV is leading the pack in terms of powering media quality and effectiveness – with exciting innovations in the domains of CTV and performance solutions. I’m thrilled to bring my product expertise to bear in support of the company’s mission - to build a better advertising industry.”

Three leadership changes at Lab
Lab Group, a collection of digital marketing, technology, and creative services agencies, has introduced a new leadership lineup. The agency group has promoted current Finance Director Rachel Howe to the role of Group Chief Financial Officer, and current Talent and HR Manager Priya Unwith to the position of Group Head of People, while hiring Harpreet Bushell as Group Chief Growth Officer.

Howe will be responsible for the group’s finance team, ensuring that all decisions made for the business are commercially sound. She will also support the financial growth of all Lab Group companies and roll out consistent processes and systems across the group.

Unwith will oversee people and talent for the group, covering everything from on-boarding new starters to implementing HR initiatives. She will advise and support Lab Group leaders on HR best practices as well as helping to attract and retain talent.

Bushell, who joined Lab Group from Valtech, is responsible for the overall revenue growth of Lab Group’s agencies, with a key focus on digital business. She is working to help unite all of the group’s revenue earners with achievable targets, and to facilitate teamwork and collaboration.

“I’m delighted to announce our new leadership team at Lab Group,” Jonny Tooze, Lab Group CEO, said. “Harpreet, Priya and Rachel are outstanding leaders and represent our focus on what we view as the three key areas for agency success: great work, people first, and commerciality. This move will give all three of them greater ownership of their specialisms while enabling me to further focus my attention on Lab Group acquisitions and IP development, as we continue to grow both organically and in-organically.”

AnyMind adds to board and management team
Vaibhav Odhekar has joined the board of directors at AnyMind Group, the company behind the POKKT mobile gaming ad platform. Meanwhile, Siddharth Kelkar, Aditya Aima, and Dinesh Kailash Kumar have all joined as Managing Directors.

Odhekar will continue to lead India and the Middle East for AnyMind Group, and will join other board of director members.

“We have put together a strong team, and Vaibhav will undoubtedly enhance this team even more,” said Kosuke Sogo, CEO and Co-founder of AnyMind Group. “We are just about to start a new era of growth, and the combined strengths of our board of directors and management team will propel us further forward.”

Kelkar has been appointed as Managing Director of Performance Business. He will be responsible for equipping performance marketers with the right set of tools by AnyMind Group globally, including offerings by POKKT, AdAsia and CastingAsia. Before joining POKKT, Kelkar held leadership roles in SVG Media, CNBC TV18, The Times Group, and Reliance Games.

Aima has been appointed as Managing Director of Agency Business, and provides marketing, creative and advertising agencies in Southeast Asia with the right capabilities across AnyMind Group’s suite of solutions. He formerly held leadership positions in Culture Machine Media, Astro Malaysia, Bloomberg TV, and Turner Broadcasting System.

Kumar is now Managing Director of Product, with a main focus on POKKT products. He previously held product-related roles in InMobi, Microsoft IDC Bangalore, Yahoo!, Conformia Software Labs, and IonIdea.

“Our management team consists of entrepreneurs and vertical experts, and Siddharth, Aditya and Dinesh can now bring their own unique qualities and expertise to the table,” Sogo added. “With such a vastly expanded business, this move allows us to focus on expanding our existing market share whilst looking at new opportunities for further growth.”

Griffiths and Griffin take up senior roles at Visibilis
Leeds-based digital agency Visibilis has selected Felicity Griffiths as its Marketing Director and Charlotte Griffin as its Client Services Director. Both previously held senior roles on the management team at Jaywing’s Epiphany.

While at Epiphany, Griffiths held the roles of Head of Marketing, while Griffin was the Group Account Director.

“We’re in the middle of a really exciting period of growth, and bringing Felicity and Charlotte on-board has been a pivotal part of this,” said Ben Wolfenden, Visibilis founder. “Both Felicity and Charlotte bring a great deal of experience to the team but crucially, share the same focus and vision for the business that I do and have the right ambition and attitude to ensure we make it happen.” 

TAG chooses Meah to direct on threat intelligence
Danielle Meah has become the first Director of Threat Intelligence at the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG). She will lead the TAG Threat Exchange and work with the industry to foster an effective threat-sharing culture. She will also direct TAG’s role as the ad industry’s first and only Information Sharing and Analysis Organisation (ISAO), including expanding the work of the TAG Threat Exchange to rapidly identify threats to the digital advertising supply chain, share information on those threats across hundreds of companies, and work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute the criminals involved. 

Prior to joining TAG, Meah was Global Head of Threat Intelligence for Citigroup, leading a cross-regional team of intelligence analysts, collections management staff, and partnership and engagement specialists. In this role, she was responsible for helping create an intelligence-led strategy with Citi’s security leadership to bolster the organization’s network defence posture. Meah has also previously held cyber intelligence roles at Booz Allen Hamilton, LookingGlass, and the US China Economic Security Review Commission.

“Malware and other supply chain threats cannot be effectively addressed by a single company working in a vacuum,” said Meah. “Like sentries in remote outposts, each company has only a partial view of the broader field of battle. By working together, however, our industry can scan the entire length of the supply chain in real-time, watching for emerging threats, then share that information through TAG with hundreds of other participating companies for action. I’m delighted to be joining TAG in this important role, as we expand our threat sharing efforts to build a safer medium.”

Parsons handed CPO gig at Criteo
Internet advertising firm Criteo has chosen Todd Parsons to take up the role of Chief Product Officer. He will lead and oversee Criteo's product design and innovation roadmap, playing a critical role in the transformation of the company's technology platform.

Prior to joining Criteo, Parsons served as the Chief Product Officer at OpenX, where he led a global team in establishing the first people-based programmatic marketplace. Previously, as Chief Product Officer of SocialCode, he developed products to activate and measure first-party audiences across Facebook, Amazon, YouTube and other platforms. He also led Acxiom's Marketing Services business and founded two startups, Aditive (acquired by Axciom in 2014) and BuzzLogic.

“In the constantly changing advertising industry, Criteo remains steadfast in its mission to provide outcomes for marketers, publishers and consumers alike through its multi-product platform and unparalleled data sets,” said Parsons. “I'm thrilled to join Criteo at a pivotal time and look forward to shaping the future of advertising with its talented team.”

Kinetiq looks to Shah on product and tech
Rishit Shah has been hired as Chief Product and Technology Officer at Kinetiq, a TV intelligence platform. He is responsible for designing and implementing a product roadmap to accelerate Kinetiq's platform innovation and align product strategy with customer needs.

Prior to joining Kinetiq, Shah held executive product and technology positions at 7Park Data and Lotame, and launched digital products for The Washington Post.

“I am thrilled to join Kinetiq at such a pivotal moment in the company's growth,” said Shah. “I have a vision, one shared by the rest of Kinetiq's leadership team, of building a truly scalable AI & ML platform that extracts deep artifacts from video files to unite paid and owned media for ads, sponsorships and brand mentions in a way the market has not yet seen.”

Driscoll takes to helm of Elastic Path
Elastic Path, a headless commerce provider, has opted for Jamus Driscoll as its Chief Executive Officer. He will lead Elastic Path into its next phase, widespread market adoption of its microservices-based headless commerce solutions. Elastic Path’s Founder and former CEO, Harry Chemko, will assume the role of Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, reporting to Driscoll.

Prior to Elastic Path, Driscoll was CEO of Moltin, which was acquired by Elastic Path in January 2020. Before that, he held a variety of marketing, product, and sales leadership roles at Demandware.

“The eCommerce market has reached a once-in-a-generation inflection point, as business and technology leaders demand full control over their digital growth strategies. The days of cookie-cutter webshops are over; it’s time to realize a future where unique and ubiquitous digital commerce experiences power the next phase of growth,” said Driscoll. “I’m thrilled to take the helm at Elastic Path, and together with my colleagues, empower businesses to fully realize their digital ambitions.”

Aisle Rocket promotes Freeman to product lead
Noah Freeman has been appointed Head of Product at Chicago-based marketing agency Aisle Rocket. He will lead the agency’s product team to develop data-driven solutions across all digital channels.

Freeman was previously Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Social Fulcrum, a social agency acquired by Aisle Rocket in 2019.

“It was an amazing experience building our Facebook ad product portfolio over the past few years at Social Fulcrum. I can’t wait to broaden that work to more platforms and work on even bigger problems at the new combined Aisle Rocket,” Freeman said. “This is an exciting time to be leading the product team at Aisle Rocket into a new era of innovation, and we can’t wait to show our clients what’s possible.”

Bowers to consult Never.no on innovation
Audience engagement specialists Never.no has brought in Tom Bowers as an Innovation Consultant, with the hope of leveraging his extensive experience in interactive production and further developing an understanding of how content can be made for today’s audience.

Bowers has worked and innovated on major global TV shows & events including The Brit Awards, The Voice, Million Pound Drop, Got to Dance, and Crufts.

“I’m extremely excited to be working with Never.no to continue pushing audience and fan engagement innovation even further. Never.no’s technology solves many challenges faced to broadcasters and production companies in how to successfully engage audiences in a post coronavirus landscape,” said Bowers.

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