Masterclassing

Movers and Shakers: The Very Group, Specsavers, eBay Ads, Comcast Advertising and more

David Murphy

The mobile and digital marketing industry is ever-changing, and that applies to the people as much as the technology. Movers & Shakers is our monthly round-up of the hottest hires in the industry…

(Clockwise from top left): Jessica Myers, Ian Maybank, Chris Rantamaki, James Rooke, Upasana Gupta, Rachel Peace

Myers appointed CMO at The Very Group  
The Very Group, which operates multicategory digital retailers Very and Littlewoods, has appointed Jessica Myers as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). She will start the role on 3 October 2022.

Myers joins Very from Metro Bank, where she built and led the company’s first ever brand and marketing function and was a member of the Executive Committee. Having joined in 2019, she shaped Metro Bank’s brand strategy, built transformational marketing capabilities, and invested in brand and marketing communications that accelerated the company’s growth as a UK challenger bank.

Prior to Metro Bank, she spent five years heading NatWest Group’s brand team, with responsibility across its 10 portfolio brands, including RBS, NatWest, Royal Bank, Coutts and Ulster Bank. Prior to this, she held a number of marketing and brand positions at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney and American Express.

At Very, she will lead a team of people across brand, marketing, public relations and creative to continue to effectively position the digital retailer as an online destination of choice for UK and Irish families. 

Robbie Feather, Managing Director, Retail at The Very Group, said: “Jessica is a thoughtful, commercial and impactful marketer and leader, with deep consumer experience. She’s exactly the right person to lead our marketing team at a time when UK families are increasingly on the lookout for the convenience, flexibility and value Very provides.”

Maybank heads to Specsavers from PepsiCo
Specsavers has appointed Ian Maybank to the newly-created role of Head of Media and Connections Planning, where he will lead media, insights and connections planning across the UK, Ireland and Spain.

Prior to Specsavers, Maybank led Media and Connections planning across Europe for PepsiCo Beverages and Snacks. He played a critical role in the growth of Pepsi Max and was integral to the turnaround of Walkers Crisps and digital transformation of snacks marketing. He has also held senior positions in some agencies including Grey London and Dentsu Aegis Network working on a range of global consumer brands. At Specsavers, Maybank will lead a team of 10 and be responsible for delivering an integrated communications plan and an end to end best-in-class customer experience with consumer insight at its heart.  

“I’m super excited about Ian joining Specsavers,” said Marketing and eCommerce Director, Chris Carter. “Aside from his immense proven track record of effective strategic thinking his depth of experience will be invaluable in helping us transition from traditional campaign cycles to an always-on, audience-led planning approach."

Rantamaki to head up original programming at TMB
TMB, the community-driven entertainment company, has hired Chris Rantamaki as SVP of Original Programming. Rantamaki will oversee the development team focused on creating new and original content across TMB's portfolio of brands, including FailArmy, Reader's Digest, People are Awesome, The Pet Collective, Taste of Home and Family Handyman.  
Rantamaki brings a wealth of experience to TMB, having held similar roles at Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, Eko and OZY Studios. Over his career he has overseen thousands of hours of shows including unscripted hits ‘Ink Master’, ‘Deadliest Catch’, ‘Naked & Afraid’, and ‘Bar Rescue’.

TMB has produced more than 1,000 episodes of broadcast, cable, and streaming programming for top networks including FOX, MTV Networks, Facebook, Sinclair's TBD Network, and Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud Network, among others. The company is also about to debut five new original series for its streaming channels this fall

"There is not another company in the space that gets billions of monthly organic views and has the ability to launch shows into the zeitgeist with synergy across streaming, social, web, and even print," said Rantamaki. "The possibilities for us to create exciting new original content for our own

Rooke appointed President of Comcast Advertising
Comcast Advertising has named James Rooke as President. In this position, Rooke will oversee the operation of the company, whose brands include Effectv, FreeWheel and AudienceXpress.

Rooke was previously General Manager of Effectv, where he successfully started its transformation to a multi-screen, audience delivery company that helps advertisers reach their target customers and drive better, measurable results. He was instrumental in bringing the more widespread use of data to TV advertising strategies, as well as driving the growth of addressable advertising and programmatic capabilities across Effectv.

Prior to leading Effectv, Rooke oversaw FreeWheel’s global publisher business unit, responsible for providing TV programmers and distributors with advertising technology to manage the monetization of their video content. During his tenure, he also helped design, launch and scale FreeWheel’s first video marketplace, led the Advisory Services practice, a consulting business unit; and served as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer.

“I’ve had the privilege of working across both the software and media business within Comcast Advertising and look forward to combining those experiences in this new role,” said Rooke. “I believe the opportunity for Comcast Advertising is unparalleled. I’m honored to accept this new position and cannot wait to continue my work with the broader leadership team to evolve the future of TV advertising for the better.”

Gupta to head up eBay Ads in the UK
eBay Ads has appointed Upasana Gupta to the role of General Manager of Advertising in the UK. Heading up the eBay Ads UK team based in Richmond, London, Upasana will focus on driving adoption of advertising solutions to help sellers to thrive, brands to grow, and buyers to discover products on the eBay platform.   

Gupta joins from Microsoft Advertising, where she worked for 16 years, most recently as EMEA Marketing Lead, where she was responsible for building and evolving Microsoft’s advertising business to drive success and growth for its advertising customers.  

She said: “I couldn’t be more excited to join eBay and become part of a company that has been one of the earliest tech-led business leaders – creating connections and opportunities for people and businesses around the world. The growth potential that exists today within the digital advertising space is huge and I look forward to working with the team to help expand the eBay Ads business and support clients and sellers across the UK on their growth journey.”

Peace to MD at Hearts & Science
Hearts & Science has appointed Rachel Peace as Managing Director. She will be working with a diverse mix of brands, including Peloton, Ocado, GoCompare and Virgin Voyages. She draws on more than 20 years’ experience at leading media agencies, working across a broad range of accounts, categories and sectors including retail, utilities, FMCG and luxury.

Peace joins from MediaCom, where she was managing partner, as well as head of UK media for The Pharm, WPP’s dedicated consulting agency for the Walgreens Boots Alliance. Her CV also includes a stint as Group Client Director at Carat, and she started her career at Walker Media, now Blue 449/Spark Foundry.

She said: “I love building team cultures with a commitment to diversity in make-up and thinking, and with a strong sense of belonging, and I’m excited to start afresh with Hearts, an agency that truly celebrates difference. Hearts’ vibrant culture, its use of data and technology, and its commitment to creativity and strong relationships offers ambitious clients something unique in the world of media. I can’t wait to be a part of this and help usher in a new stage of growth through our industry-leading capabilities.”

Cousins heads to JustWatch from Premiership Rugby
Data-driven entertainment marketing firm JustWatch has hired Nick Cousins as SVP Sports & Entertainment in its London office. Cousins has over 20 years of experience in entertainment and sports marketing, starting on the media agency side at MEC and Carat, followed by several positions at the Walt Disney Company.

Over the last two years, Cousins followed his passion for sports to consult in sports marketing for rights holders, agencies and associations which led to his position as Marketing Director at Premiership Rugby.

“This role will combine his experience and passion for sports and entertainment in a perfect way and will help to accelerate JustWatch’s growth,” said Founder and CEO, David Croyé. “For new and existing clients in entertainment and when JustWatch broadens its scope to add sports to its apps and offer media buying services for sports streaming services later this year.”  

JustWatch operates an international streaming guide in over 100 markets. It anonymously collects user data and insights on taste and consumer behaviour from over 20m streamers via the website justwatch.com, iOS and Android apps, and TV apps for Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung, LG TV and Xbox. This data is used via the JustWatch platform to manage scalable video advertising campaigns for media agencies, movie studios and streaming services with a focus on EMEA.

Raggiri handed growth brief at FitXR
FitXR,
an immersive virtual fitness club available on the Meta Quest, has appointed Lisa Raggiri to the role of Chief Marketing Officer. A pioneer in social consumer marketing, Raggiri brings her extensive expertise in direct-to-consumer growth marketing to scale the FitXR’s growth in new and existing markets and to expand its global presence.

She is best known as the founder of ToneRow.com, the world’s first online music lesson marketplace. She has also
held the position of Chief Growth Officer at sustainable cleaning brand, Cleancult. She was also Head of Brand Innovation at Coty, where she was recruited to architect and incubate a new skincare brand on behalf of the health and wellness leader. 

VCCP revamps social team
VCCP has unveiled a new senior social leadership team. New addition Nick Lewis joins as Head of Social & Content Strategy and will work alongside Alex Dalman, Head of Social & Innovation and Nicky Palamarczuk, Head of Social & Influence to challenge the social conventions for VCCP’s clients across the partnership.

Lewis, Dalman and Palamarczuk will lead a team of 35 social specialists whose remit will be to translate the fast-paced nature of social-first thinking into ground-breaking work across social, gaming, digital and experiential in a native way. The trio will build on existing momentum by scaling VCCP’s social capabilities across its global network whilst also simplifying the complexity of the ever-evolving social media landscape for clients.

Lewis joins VCCP from football media business COPA90, having spent almost six years with the fan-first publisher working with brands including EA Sports, Nike and PepsiCo. He said: “We're in an exciting era of social-fuelled creativity where we are redefining how we connect brands with consumers, build community and entertain. These connections, however, are increasingly disparate and I’m really thrilled to join one of the very best integrated agencies, to help reduce siloed and fragmented brand experiences. Throughout my career I've helped brands to connect with culture, communities, creators and talent in meaningful ways and I'm pleased to be able to bring my experience of fan-first publishing and editorial to VCCP.”

Brujó to CEO at Interbrand
Brand consultancy Interbrand has promoted Gonzalo Brujó to Global Chief Executive Officer. Brujó succeeds Charles Trevail, who will take on the role of Executive Chairman.

Previously the Global President of Interbrand, Brujó steps into this leadership role with expansive experience and will be responsible for the overall direction, strategy and growth of the company around the world. He has been Global President since February 2021. Prior to that, he spent more than 15 years scaling the Interbrand business in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

He is also a visiting professor at several business schools, including IE Business School, the University of Navarra and formerly at the LVMH Academy. He is also the author of several top-selling brand books, including The Secrets of Luxury, Managing Brands in Fashion, The New Generation of Value, and Lanmarq.

“It’s a great honour to step into this senior leadership role at Interbrand at such a pivotal moment,” he said. “The role that brands play in our lives is fundamentally changing – as is the world we live in. Branding is no longer a moment in time, and the brands that stand still will quickly lose relevance. I am excited to partner with our world-class clients and employees to achieve game-changing results in this rapidly-shifting landscape.”

Two senior hires at The Ozone Project
Digital advertising platform The Ozone Project, has hired Charlotte Seagers and Antonio Nunes into the new roles of Head of Customer Success and Head of Data Science respectively. 

Prior to joining Ozone, Seagers was Senior Account Manager & Team Lead at Beeswax, acquired by Comcast’s Freewheel in late 2020. She had previously held senior roles at Rezonence where she finished her time as VP of Platform. In her new role, she will take responsibility for expanding Ozone’s international relationships with other publisher-led alliances, using the platform’s technology and services to both expedite their time to market and maximise their digital revenues. As part of the Publishers Services team, she will report directly to Danny Spears, Ozone’s Chief Operating Officer. 

Nunes joins Ozone from QBE Europe where he was Lead Data Scientist. Prior to joining QBE Europe, he held the same role at The Telegraph and before that was an Analytics Solutions Specialist for Telefónica. In his new role, he will focus on developing Ozone’s Data Science capability, reporting to Joao Barbosa, Director of Data Operations. This will include developing the machine-learning algorithms powering Ozone’s proprietary ‘Smart Bidstream’ technology, giving publishers’ greater control over the data they make available to ad partners – reducing unwanted data leakage – while also creating publisher uplift from yield optimisation. 

Manthey promoted to CEO at Kin + Carta
Digital transformation consultancy Kin + Carta has appointed Kelly Manthey, previously Group Chief Executive of Kin + Carta Americas, as CEO, following the retirement of J. Schwan. The changes also see Chris Kutsor, Kin + Carta’s Chief Financial Officer, take on the additional role of Chief Operating Officer.

The moves are part of a planned succession strategy that sees the consultancy build on its three-year transformation as the consultancy enters an ambitious growth phase, profitably scaling both organically and through acquisition. 

Manthey has been in the business of digital transformation for 25 years, with a career that has spanned every role in the business. She has been instrumental in building a growth-minded business with a strong, diverse and progressive culture. The US region now accounts for 70% of Kin + Carta’s revenue, growing from 400 people when Manthey was appointed as Americas Group Chief Executive, to 1,100 today.

Her career includes serving as CEO of Solstice, the agency Schwan founded in 2001. Solstice was acquired by St Ives in 2015, and added to its diverse portfolio of digital marketing services agencies. Schwan took over as St Ives CEO in August 2018 and spearheaded its transformation into Kin + Carta, restructuring the legacy portfolio of businesses into a single firm with a common mission of “building a world that works better for everyone.”

She said: “I am honoured to lead the next chapter of Kin + Carta’s growth story as we scale globally, building on strong foundations, with an excellent leadership group, bound by a commitment to using business as a force for good. I am excited to continue serving our valued clients, shareholders and the fantastic Kin + Carta team as we build a world that works better for everyone."

Bauer to head up client partnerships at Kochava
Omnichannel attribution and measurement firm Kochava has hired Scott Bauer as its Vice President of Global Client Partnerships. Bauer has more than 15 years’ experience spanning marketing analytics, growth, user acquisition and performance marketing across multiple industries, including more than a decade of mobile app marketing. 

His most recent position was with App Auditors as a strategic marketing consultant. Prior to this, he led the growth marketing team at GSN Games. Before entering the mobile growth space, he spent almost  a decade in FP&A and marketing analytics for two of the most recognized names in the gaming industry, Station Casinos and Caesars Entertainment.

He said: “I have a long history working with Kochava as a client and a valued partner. The company’s team, leadership and dedication to providing the best product and client service is nothing short of impressive and why I am thrilled to join the team.”

Simpson to focus on Asia-Pac at Anzu
In-game advertising platform Anzu has appointed Tom Simpson as a Strategic Advisor, with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific Region. Simpson brings experience working with brands and game publishers across Asia-Pacific to connect gaming and marketing opportunities. He recently left mobile gaming in-app advertising platform AdColony, where he led the Asia-Pacific business, culminating in a sale to Digital Turbine.

Simpson joins Anzu at a pivotal time, with the company having recently announced a strategic partnership and significant investment from NBCUniversal and HTC, and renewed investment from WPP and Sony Innovation Fund. The company also recently became the first in-game advertising platform to join Unity’s Verified Solutions Partner Programme, followed by the announcement of a new partnership with Microsoft in May.

On the appointment, Anzu Co-Founder and CEO Itamar Benedy said: “We are thrilled to have Tom, who is also a good friend, on board and are excited to learn from his invaluable knowledge and insight into APAC's gaming and advertising industries. Tom will focus on guiding the development of partnerships to further Anzu’s opportunities with brands and game publishers in this strategically important region, which boasts the largest gaming community in the world.”

Other moves:
DoubleVerify has appointed Carolyn Watt to the role of Vice President of Global Client Partnerships. She will be responsible for cultivating relationships with the company’s largest global customers. As part of her role, Watt will lead the global, regional and local teams in identifying the unique commercial needs of DV’s advertiser partners, and ensure the seamless delivery of DV’s solutions. Previously Global Head of Strategy and Innovation at Quantcast, she brings over 20 years of commercial leadership experience to the role.

AppsFlyer has appointed Yevgeny Peres as Executive Vice President of Product Strategy. He comes to the company with extensive experience in the digital ecosystem and mobile space. He previously held executive roles at ironSource and Supersonic, where he was initially tasked to kickstart and grow its mobile activity, and in recent years led its mobile product strategy and innovation lab. In his new role, Peres will further AppsFlyer’s product innovations that maximise users value, experience and privacy by enabling the entire ecosystem to collaborate together in a privacy-preserving manner for a better and safer digital experience for everyone.

Digital media quality firm Integral Ad Science has named Thomas V. Joseph as its  Chief Technology Officer (CTO), effective 8 August, 2022. As CTO, Joseph will lead the engineering team to develop and scale new offerings while continuing to evolve existing products. Joseph will report to Lisa Utzschneider, CEO of IAS, and will execute on the long-term product vision as part of the senior leadership team.

Theorem has expanded its senior team with the addition of Reem Al-Basri, who joins the company’s London office as Head of Digital Media Strategy. Her focus is on growing the UK business, with a particular emphasis on expanding Theorem’s client base in the retail and D2C sectors. She will be responsible for driving growth in the EMEA and UK markets through Theorem's key D2C, retail and automation solutions and media, creative, marketing, CRM, custom-built technology and data services. Previously, Al-Basri held several different titles at Publicis Group including Business Managing Director of Media, Head of Integrations, Content Strategy and Development as well as social and influencer marketing roles.

Privacy-first ad targeting firm Nano Interactive has appointed Matthew Beck as VP, Partnerships. He will head up the company’s global efforts to expand on its SSP, DSP and publisher partnerships. He joins Nano from Prohaska, a boutique digital transformation consultancy, where he was responsible for selling strategy and growth solutions across the ecosystem to publishers, tech companies, investors, trade groups, agencies and brands. Prior to Prohaska, he worked as a Business Development Director at digital marketing technology firm, Amobee.

Xsolla, which helps video game developers to launch, market, monetize and sell their games, has appointed former Meta Strategic Partner Manager Sebastian Totte as its new Senior Country Manager for the UK, France and Benelux. He joins Xsolla following more than seven years at Meta on both the mobile and publisher sides of the business. He has substantial experience in Meta’s Mobile App, Mobile Web, In-stream Video, Instant Article, and Instant Games divisions. Prior to Meta, he worked at ad tech firm InMobi, where he was Premium Partner Manager (EMEA). In his new role, he will build relationships with games studios in the region.

Conversational AI firm, Interactions, has appointed Peter Mullen, a seasoned marketing executive with over two decades of leadership experience, as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Mullen has a proven track record of bolstering customer success and product marketing, lead-gen programming, and more. As CMO, he’ll be an integral part of Interactions’ senior team as the company embarks on new growth opportunities and an extension of its product roadmap. Prior to Interactions, he served as SVP of Marketing at Payactiv, and held prominent marketing and comms roles at Comcast and Netflix.

Remio
, a virtual reality (VR) platform for remote team building and collaboration for global enterprise customers, has appointed Tom DuBois to the role of Chief Product Officer. DuBois will drive Remio’s strategy to empower companies to succeed in a remote and hybrid world via team-building games. DuBois has held a number of roles in the XR industry. Recently, he ran product management at Intel Sports and partnered with the NFL to create a volumetric video system that captured live sports in an immersive 3D format. Previously, he worked at Google AR/VR Labs on immersive computing, and developed innovations at Eyefluence, an eye tracking startup that enabled intuitive input via eye movements. Prior to working in AR/VR, DuBois had an extensive career in the video game industry at Electronic Arts, GameFly, Twitch, Humble Bundle, and at cloud gaming pioneer OnLive.  

Creative platform VidMob has hired Silvia Gorra as VP Marketing, EMEA. A seasoned marketing professional with extensive experience in the technology space, Gorra joins VidMob from sell-side ad platform Magnite, where she spent more than five years as VP, International Marketing. Gorra will lead VidMob’s marketing strategy and execution across EMEA, selecting and activating the best levers to build brand awareness for VidMob throughout the region. Reporting to CMO Andrea Ward, Gorra will translate VidMob’s EMEA plan into local objectives for key markets, including the UK, France, the DACH region and the Middle East, with an initial focus on Dubai  

Link Agency, a TikTok “brand factory” has hired Joaquim Salgueiro to the newly-created role of Paid Media Director. Prior to joining Link Agency, Salgueiro worked as Director at the London-based Kinase ad agency for more than five years. He joins Link Agency as part of a wider expansion to include creative and media buying services. He will be at the helm of building the agency’s digital capabilities.

Moloco has hired Sunil Rayan as the company’s first Chief Business Officer (CBO). Prior to Moloco, he served as President and Head of Disney+ Hotstar, where he grew the streaming business 8x to over 50m subscribers, scaled more than 20 markets internationally for Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar across India, Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa, and led the launch of the next-generation Hotstar streaming platform. Before joining Disney+, Rayan held leadership roles at Google for more than seven years, where he led the Global Mobile App ads business and helped build Google Cloud solutions for games. Prior to that, he was an Associate Partner at McKinsey, serving technology clients across a variety of functions.

Showheroes Group has announced a series of key appointments. Bastian Döring will take on the role of Senior Vice President EMEA & Global Sales. Döring will be joining a newly-realigned team at ShowHeroes Group’s German hub, including the appointment of his colleague Kay Schneider to Senior Vice President Global Product & Business Development. She will be directing the company’s supply-side strategy, with a focus on global product management and development. Rounding off the new management team is Marco Ruivenkamp, who will take on the role of Vice President Global Business Development.

Integrated agency group, Unlimited, has appointed Elinor Jones as Managing Partner on its Government account. Her remit will cover all Government accounts and she will sit on TMW Unlimited’s leadership team. With over 20 years of industry experience, 10 of which were in the public sector, Jones takes on the new role after over a year in Government, leading strategic communications for the Department of Business and Energy and Industrial Strategy. Before joining the Civil Service, Jones set up the Government practice at Ogilvy and worked with departments such as The?Department for International Trade?(DIT), Public Health England and the Post Office, executing campaigns that drove positive behaviour change. 

Contextual advertising firm Seedtag has opened its US headquarters in New York, to be headed up by US Managing Director Brian Danzis, joined by co-founder and co-CEO, Albert Nieto, who will be relocating to New York. The New York office will act as Seedtag’s new commercial HQ while the company’s development and operations hub will remain in its founding city, Madrid.  Danzis brings over 20 years of experience and expertise in advertising, sales and marketing in North America. Prior to joining Seedtag, he served as EVP, Agency Solutions for VideoAmp where he was responsible for managing the national sales team. Previously, he served as Global Head of Video & Live Event Sales at Spotify, where he developed and executed the go-to-market strategy of the platform’s video ads business.

Digital agency Tug has hired Daniel Capon as Head of Biddable Media in the UK. Capon, who joins from media communications agency, Starcom, will oversee Tug’s paid media team in London to deliver data-led, highly trackable campaigns for a range of blue-chip brands, including Milk & More, Zipcar, and LEAP. Capon will draw on his wealth of agency experience to drive continued growth for Tug across Paid Search and Paid Social.