The Future of Mobile

Movers and Shakers: Unilever, TextNow, LoopMe, MainAd, 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) Conny Braams, Mike Grishaver, Wanda Young, Paul Thomas, Steve Thornton, David Atlas, Roberto Pizzato

Unilever makes pair of executive changes
Conny Braams has been made chief digital & marketing officer, while Fabian Garcia takes role of president for North America, at Unilever. Both will begin their jobs on 1 January.

Braams joined Unilever in 1990 and has held a variety of marketing leadership and general management roles across European and Asian markets. In her current role as executive vice president for Middle Europe, she is responsible for the company’s business in DACH, Nordics, Italy, and the Benelux. She has also served as EVP for Benelux and home care Europe, and EVP for Asia, Africa and Middle East.

Garcia, who will report to chief operating officer Nitin Paranjpe, was president and chief executive officer at Revlon from 2016 to 2018. He also served as chief operating officer of global innovation & growth at Colgate Palmolive and, before that, president of the Asia/Pacific division and EVP of Latin America. Garcia began his career at Procter & Gamble, holding roles including president of Max Factor Japan and general manager of the paper & beauty division in Venezuela.

“I would… like to extend a warm welcome to Fabian, a truly global and purpose-driven business leader, who brings Unilever deep experience of the consumer goods industry in North America and many other markets, as well as an impressive track record of high performance,” said Alan Jope, Unilever CEO.

“Conny Braams is one of our most successful and talented leaders, as well as a highly effective driver of change. As our new chief digital & marketing officer, her experience will be critical to the transformation of Unilever into a future-fit, fully digitised organisation at the leading edge of consumer marketing.”

Grishaver takes charge of product at TextNow
Free texting and calling app TextNow has hired Mike Grishaver as vice president of product. Reporting to founder & chief executive officer Derek Ting, he is responsible for leading the product vision, strategy, and development that supports the app’s 15m monthly active users.

Grishaver brings more than 20 years of experience in product management, design, and monetisation to TextNow. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of product at Beachbody, where he led Beachbody On Demand and launched the company’s Openfit health, fitness, and nutrition product across web, Android, iOS, and Roku platforms. Earlier in his career, he served as SVP of product at Etsy, VP of product management at Pandora, and product management & monetisation lead at LinkedIn.

“Today, consumers spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV and 90 per cent of smartphone time is spent in apps. TextNow's ability to provide phone service through a mobile app versus a traditional carrier aligns with that trend and positions the company as a true disruptor in the telecom industry,” said Grishaver. “TextNow's team is smart, agile, and creative. I'm excited to join them in building a product that brings affordable connectivity to users around the world.”

LoopMe adds Young and Conforti
Wanda Young and Rachel Conforti have joined LoopMe, a video advertising platform, as data advisory board member and vice president of marketing respectively.

Young will use her 20 years of data-driven marketing and brand expertise, from companies including Disney, ESPN, and Walmart, to provide insights to the LoopMe leadership team as it scales its business in the US. She is the former senior vice president for the Walt Disney Company, where she created the client solutions team to service client direct business for Disney advertising sales. Before that, Young was SVP, chief marketing officer at ESPN, where she launched ESPN+, and vice president of media & digital marketing at Walmart.

“LoopMe is in a unique position in the market, delivering technology that optimizes towards actual business outcomes like foot traffic, sales lift and brand metrics,” said Young. “We were seeking this type of AI-powered solution throughout my career – and with the role of the brand marketer even further being challenged for results, LoopMe’s in the sweet spot for making this a reality.”

Conforti, who will report to chief executive officer Stephen Upstone, is part of the management team responsible for global marketing, with a focus on the US. She joins LoopMe from Innovid, where she was VP of marketing and communications. Prior to that, she ran the marketing for DoubleVerify. Conforti has also held roles at Tremor Video, Definition 6, 24/7 Media, and CBS Outdoor (now known as Outfront Media).

“As the LoopMe business scales in the US, we’re thrilled to have focused leadership that will drive us into the next growth phase,” added Upstone. “With Wanda’s brand & media measurement experience from companies such as Disney and Walmart, combined with Rachel’s success in building ad tech brands like DoubleVerify and Innovid, we’re looking forward to the next wave of brand building for LoopMe to help amplify our message to brand advertisers that want to close the loop on brand advertising across all screens.”

Pizzato to lead marketing at MainAd
MainAd, an ad tech firm, has appointed Roberto Pizzato as its head of marketing. Based in MainAd’s London office, he will be tasked with developing strategic relationships with new and existing clients, and driving the company’s global marketing and communication initiatives.

Pizzato, who brings more than a decade of digital media experience from agency, research, and business development roles, was previously head of content at Buzzoole.

“This is an exciting time in the evolution of the company as it is rapidly expanding internationally. The digital sphere is evolving at a tremendous pace and ad tech is at the forefront of this innovative space, in particular when it has to do with machine learning, which is helping advertisers to serve content that is relevant to their audience and to invest in paid media with high efficiency. This, together with the new regulations on cookies and users’ privacy, will ultimately lead to a better relationship between advertisers and users,” commented Pizzato. “I’m delighted to be joining MainAd as they expand their offering. I am confident that we are in a prime position to lead the way in scalable customer-centric solutions for its global clients.”

Zignal names Atlas as marketing chief
David Atlas has been selected as chief marketing officer at Zignal Labs, an AI customer and brand insights platform. He will oversee demand generation, product marketing, and corporate marketing, while optimising the company’s overall efforts to ensure it is best able to achieve its mission.

Boasting over 25 years of tech and internet marketing experience, Atlas was previously CMO at Persado, SVP of marketing at StrongView (now Selligent), and SVP of sales & marketing at Goodmail, as well as managing Collective Gain – his marketing consultancy practice.

“What strikes me most about Zignal is how the company is essentially mapping influence flowing among groups of people,” said Atlas. “Brands, candidates, products, threats - all of these are functions of what people believe. Having spent nearly a decade mining real-time media data, Zignal can observe, mathematically, customer beliefs and potential threats being formed. The value of that is enormous.”

Elvis turns to Thornton to direct on tech
Steve Thornton has been named as technical director at creative agency Elvis. He is tasked with leading and building Elvis’ technology offering. He will oversee and grow the agency’s development team in order to ensure it continues to create work for its client portfolio, which includes Cadbury, Honda, and Budweiser.

He joins from Foolproof, where he was head of technology, leading user experience projects for major financial services businesses. Prior to this, he spent 10 years at Uber Digital, working with clients including Caffe Nero, KFC, Jordans and Ryvita, Davidoff, and Vision Direct.

“Having started my career as a designer in the early 2000s, I’m really a creative at heart,” commented Thornton. “I'm excited to bring my technical toolkit and creative ideas to a place that can bring them to life, and also make them into something truly unexpected and unforgettable.”

Thomas and Shilton arrive at Dept
Digital agency Dept has appointed Paul Thomas as client development director and James Shilton as engagement manager.

Thomas joins Dept with over 15 years’ experience driving business growth via acquisition, digital transformation, marketing and account development. He will be overseeing the new business growth of the agency’s design and technology services in the UK, partnering with new brands, and expanding the its technology partnerships. Prior to Dept, he was director of business development at Zone (part of Cognizant), and head of sales at Kagool.

“It’s an exciting time to join Dept. Just three years in, the agency is a top UK agency and is expanding across the globe with unprecedented levels of growth,” said Thomas. “Dept is ambitious, with talented teams of specialists in all areas of emerging tech, ready to reinvent the digital industry. I’m looking forward to continuing to drive the agency forward with high-calibre opportunities.”

Shilton has been welcomed at Dept to help fuel the agency’s new business aspirations by growing its sales operations team.

“Joining Dept to develop a sales operations team is a welcomed opportunity,” added Shilton. “With its full service offering and impressive client roster, I look forward to optimising all of our experience to reach and engage businesses across the UK. On a personal level, I am looking forward to growing the team ahead of an exciting 2020 at Dept.”

Upstream elevates Maniatis to CEO
Dimitris Maniatis has been promoted to chief executive officer at mobile technology firm Upstream. As of 1 January, he will succeed Guy Krief – who will join the board of directors – and be responsible for further expanding Upstream’s growth by leading its new products to market.

Maniatis joined Upstream in 2017 as head of Secure-D, the company’s security platform. In 2009, he founded All Things Web, which became part of IPG in 2014 and relaunched as Reprise Digital Greece.

“I am honoured to be leading Upstream through its next steps into the future and preparing to advance our product portfolio further into the market,” commented Maniatis. “I want to thank Guy for the trust he has put in me over the past three years of working together, and for his approach to innovation which he has infused in all of us. I am looking forward to working alongside our amazing management team and our talented, savvy and committed colleagues.”

Knights joins 4C
4C Insights, a data science and marketing technology company, has recruited Karl Knights vice president of revenue, EMEA. He will head up the EMEA sales and client service teams, working closely with marketing and finance functions to optimise all pre- and post-sales activity.

Prior to joining 4C, Knights was EMEA sales director at Dynamic Signal. Before that, he held several sales roles at Kenshoo and Microsoft. He has also worked at Yahoo and Chrysalis Radio (now Global Radio).

“I live for that feeling that as a business you’ve got things ‘just right’ and in a world where consumers are agnostic across media, it’s technologies like 4C that enable brands to move with the times,” said Knights. “Whilst it’s not easy, our commitment and value to brands is to make transformation easier and extract optimal value across every channel.”