Workshop week

Movers and Shakers: HMD, TaskRabbit, Feefo, MRM, JW, 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) Alain Lejeune, Ania Smith, Tony Wheble, Dustin Engel, Joy Corso, Elliot MacNay, Jayna Kothary

HMD calls on Lejeune to lead operations
Alain Lejeune has joined HMD Global, the company in charge of Nokia’s mobile phone business, as its Global Leader of Operations. Reporting directly to Chief Executive Officer Florian Seiche, he will be responsible for overseeing all operations for HMD Global and leading engineering and supply chain management efforts for the company.

Lejeune joins HMD from OneWeb, where he was a Special Advisor focused on the operations strategy. Before OneWeb, he worked with TCL Group, joining as part of the company’s acquisition of Alcatel’s mobile phone division. He successfully led the integration, as well as driving the company’s research and development and product creation efforts, while also being responsible for managing the acquisition of global licensing rights from Blackberry. Following the acquisition, he became President of the BlackBerry Mobile business division created within TCL and re-launched BlackBerry smartphones as a premium professional brand to global markets. 

“I’m delighted to take on this new challenge at HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones,” said Lejeune. “Having worked in the mobile industry for over two and a half decades, I’ve witnessed huge shifts in the ways companies operate on a global scale. The need to adapt and move quickly has never been more business-critical as companies adjust to a world post-COVID-19. Steadfast operations play a pivotal role in maintaining equilibrium for a nimble startup such as HMD Global, and I look forward to helping the business maintain momentum and navigate change now and in the future.  Nokia phones have a loyal and fast-growing fan base, and I’m excited to help the company continue to deliver the high levels of quality and affordable mobile innovations people have come to know and love.”

Smith takes to TaskRabbit helm
TaskRabbit, an online and mobile task service owned by IKEA parent Ingka Group, has named Ania Smith as its Chief Executive Officer. She will begin her role on 24 August.

Smith, who brings with her two decades of strategic and operational expertise in consumer technology and management consulting, was most recently Head of Courier Operations at Uber, where she led the growth of UberEats supply in the United States and Canada. Prior to Uber, she held various leadership positions at Airbnb in Operations and Growth capacities. Smith also spent time in Director roles at Walmart eCommerce and Expedia.

“I'm honoured by the opportunity to lead TaskRabbit, and humbled to take the reins from Stacy, who is an inspiration and a role model to so many female leaders,” said Smith. “Stacy [Brown-Philpot] and the entire team at TaskRabbit have laid the foundation and built the world's leading online and mobile task service, and I look forward to helping unlock limitless possibilities for the future. Together we will bring TaskRabbit to the world – helping make everyday lives easier for everyday people.”

Feefo gives Chairman seat to Wheble
Tony Wheble has been appointed Non-executive Chairman at reviews company Feefo. He will use his experience in the travel and media sectors to support the company’s CEO Matt West and his leadership team as they push forward with an expansion programme.

Wheble has spent 10 years working in the leisure travel sector, acquiring villa holiday operator James Villa Holidays as CEO in a private equity-backed management buyout before selling the business to Wyndham Worldwide. He was formerly Commercial Director of Flextech Television (now Virgin Media) and spent more than 20 years working in the UK media industry at ITV, Omnicom, and Interpublic.

“I’m excited to be joining Feefo, helping Matt West and his talented team roll out a complete range of smart technology solutions that deliver transformative improvements in customer experience, customer insight, and marketing performance,” Wheble said. “This is an impressively innovative business with significant scope for domestic and international growth. The team’s commitment to delivering actionable insights that help clients understand and build much closer relationships with customers is what attracted me to the position. I look forward to working with the fantastic set of clients we already have and strengthening our position as a cutting-edge martech business.”

Kothary takes charge of global tech at MRM
McCann Worldgroup marketing agency MRM has brought in Jayna Kothary as its Global Chief Technology Officer.

Kothary was, most recently, CTO for Global Clients at WPP, where she partnered with the firm's largest clients to help them best leverage data, technology and partnerships for business transformation. Prior to WPP, she held technology leadership roles at both Vodafone Group and BP.

“Kate and her outstanding team at MRM have been setting the industry bar on how agencies can continue to innovate with technology in ways that can directly benefit client growth initiatives,” said Kothary. “I am thrilled to be able to bring my experience to bear and be a part of the team that has been driving MRM's impressive growth and performance.”

JW expands monetisation efforts with MacNay hire
Elliot MacNay has taken up the role of Advertising Demand Lead EMEA at JW Player, an independent video platform. Reporting into the General Manager of Advertising, Michael Schwalb, he will work with local advertising agencies and brands to drive more video ad targeting revenue to the 12,000+ premium publishers using JW Player’s video technology.

Macnay, who arrives with a decade of advertising experience, joins from Zeotap. Before that, he held roles at EMX, Outbrain, Time Out, and Thomson Local.

“JW Player is a leader in the video landscape and has built significant presence across EMEA working hand-in-hand with publishers to maximise the video on their site,” said Macnay. “The unique data points and scale across the JW Player network of publishers could be game-changing for agencies and brands in EMEA, as this just does not exist elsewhere in the video landscape. I’m excited to build a team helping holding groups and brands benefit from these opportunities and real-time insights, whilst optimising the advertising revenue publishers can make from video advertising.”

Corso to lead marketing at Vonage
Vonage, a cloud communications provider, has chosen Joy Corso as its Chief Marketing Officer. Reporting to CEO Rory Read, she is responsible for leading all areas of Vonage's global marketing function and will play an integral role in advancing the company's position in cloud communications.

Boasting more than 25 years of leadership experience in marketing and communications, Corso joins from Virtustream, where she was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to joining Virtustream, Corso held senior roles at companies including Advanced Micro Devices, Raytheon, and Iron Mountain.

“I am thrilled to join Vonage at such a dynamic time. It is now fundamental for companies to stay connected to employees and customers from anywhere – through whatever channel they choose – video, messaging, chat, voice,” Corso said. “At the same time, the demand for businesses to build unique experiences and disruptive solutions in their markets has never been greater. The ability to enable this kind of connection and innovation is the value the Vonage platform brings to organizations all over the world.”

Consumer Acquisition names Engel as President
Dustin Engel has been appointed President at social ad creative studio Consumer Acquisition. He will leverage his experience in eCommerce, branding, travel, entertainment, and programmatic buying to help drive Consumer Acquisition’s next phase of growth, while company founder Brian Bowman continues to lead as Chief Executive Officer.

Engel, most recently, served as VP of Corporate Strategy and Development for PMG. Before that, he served as EVP at Camelot Strategic Marketing and EVP of Strategy and Innovation for iProspect. In his over 20 years of experience, he has also held roles at ClearSaleing, Match.com, and Blockbuster.

“Brian has built a world-class company powered by an elite Hollywood-based creative team with vast experience in storytelling, 2D and 3D animation, visual effects, and user acquisition that produces blockbuster Facebook ad creative,” Engel said. “As social networks move towards fully automated media buying, the need for advertisers to generate high-performing creative and understand analytics has become mission-critical. Consumer Acquisition is uniquely positioned to help advertisers with our creative studio, media buying strategy and social advertising testing insights. I look forward to applying my experience in M&A, client services and scaling high-growth marketing services organizations across 50 countries to help take Consumer Acquisition to new heights.”

Bordoli to head up NextRoll
NextRoll, which is home to AdRoll and RollWorks, has elevated Robin Bordoli to the position of Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Toby Gabriner in the role.

Most recently, Bordoli served as President of the RollWorks business unit – a role he will continue to hold. Before joining NextRoll, he served as CEO at Figure Eight and held multiple leadership roles at Marketo.

“I’ve spent my career identifying emerging growth markets and aligning a company’s technology and resources against them, so joining a company like NextRoll and partnering with Toby over the last 18 months on our two growth opportunities was very appealing to me. I’m humbled and excited to take the baton from him after his successful three-year tenure of transformation,” said Bordoli. “There’s a big shift in behaviours happening in B2B and D2C – marketing and sales teams spend more time researching online than engaging with a vendor, and D2C brands spend more time trying to find their audience than building relationships with them. RollWorks’s platform addresses this B2B challenge by using machine learning and data to help these teams find and engage the buying committees in the accounts that matter most to their business. Using the same technology, AdRoll addresses the D2C market by helping e-commerce brands identify and engage the consumers that matter most to their business. Both are exciting opportunities for NextRoll and I look forward to leading us through what’s next.”

Quizlet adds Brayton and Ramsey
Shannon Brayton has been given a seat on the Board of Directors at learning app Quizlet, while Brad Ramsey has been appointed the company’s first Chief Marketing Officer.

Brayton has more than 25 years of experience leading teams and shaping corporate narratives at internet brands. She was most recently Chief Marketing Officer at LinkedIn, and before that worked in marketing and communications at OpenTable, eBay, Yahoo!, and Intuit. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Vidyard and Relativity.

“With more than a billion study transactions happening on Quizlet each week, the company has a massive reach and opportunity,” said Brayton. “There's never been a more important time to be empowering students, and I'm excited to join and help continue the rapid growth and global expansion of Quizlet's online learning platform.”

Ramsey arrives at Quizlet from Twitter, where he was Vice President of Global Marketing. Prior to Twitter, he ran marketing efforts for Facebook in North America and Asia-Pacific. Before that, he managed global consumer marketing efforts at Google, and has held positions at eBay and Yahoo!.

“The landscape of education is changing, distance learning is adding new challenges for students, and it's a great opportunity to ensure Quizlet's digital study tools reach students and teachers around the world,” said Ramsey. “I'm excited to help drive Quizlet's impact, expand Quizlet's user base and build a brand that learners love.”

Shlesman gets MD gig at ChannelAdvisor
Cloud-based eCommerce solutions provider ChannelAdvisor has promoted Vladi Shlesman to Managing Director, EMEA. He will lead business strategy and the company’s EMEA operations, overseeing customer acquisition, expansion, and retention, having previously led the company’s EMEA and APAC Client Services.

Shlesman has over 20 years of experience in senior presales and services with companies including CA Technologies, Automic Software, and BMC Software.

“Channel overload is the greatest risk to e-commerce growth post COVID, as it’s causing chronic indecision at the highest levels of many brands and retailers. There’s a real gap in understanding how to navigate this overabundance of digital channels, from marketplaces to social media. Unfortunately, many have concluded that it’s safer to either try one or two big name platforms or simply wait for the landscape to become less complex, which just isn’t going to happen,” said Shlesman.

“There’s a huge post-COVID eCommerce opportunity, but a failure to move quickly and adopt an agile digital strategy could see many brands and retailers suffer a similar fate to the high street. At a time when consumers have never been more eager to buy online, brands who aren’t agile enough to test and try the many varied digital shopfronts on offer will watch competitors snap up sales. I’m tremendously excited to lead ChannelAdvisor’s EMEA operations at such a transformative time for retailers and brands.”

Silverbean selects Duddin to lead sales
Maria Duddin has been hired as Head of Sales UK at Silverbean, an affiliate marketing agency. She will lead the sales team in the UK, with a primary focus on medium-tier specialist retail and travel brands.

Duddin joins Silverbean having previously worked in roles such as Director of Business Development and Managing Director.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the superb, forward-thinking team at Silverbean – this role is a really exciting new challenge for me,” said Duddin. “I look forward to collaborating with the team and driving the business even further forward together.”

Sonj becomes COO at TPay
TPay Mobile, a digital payments platform in the Middle East and Africa, has turned to Dheerai (Raj) Sonj as its Chief Operating Officer.

Sonj brings with him decades of experience in leadership, transformation, and execution within growth focused organisations across the technology and telecoms industries. He will draw on his experience as former President and Chief Commercial Officer at Docomo Digital Payments, as well as Senior Vice President at Swisscom, to help TPay achieve its vision and ambitious growth plans.

“I am thrilled to be joining TPay Mobile at this exciting time for the company,” said Sonj. “What is astounding is that TPay Mobile has built a state of the art, fully modular and scalable platform that is on track to enable financial inclusion at scale across MEA, covering the most relevant payment methods and giving merchants unmatched access to the region with just one single integration. My initial focus will be on partnering with global merchants and strategic technology partners looking to expand into MEA, in addition to building a portfolio of ancillary services to add value to all our partners within the payments ecosystem.”

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