Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA’s Talent Tracker column provides a regular update on which companies are recruiting who and from where.

Talent Tracker: minds+assembly, Mabo, bandstand and more

minds + assembly is excited to add 40+ years of experience and influence to its Board of Directors with the recent appointment of industry pioneer Nick Colucci. The move follows Amulet’s recent strategic partnership and investment in minds + assembly, marking a significant enhancement to the collective leadership strength driving the evolution of the agency. Colucci, recently retired, brings a wealth of industry experience to his new board position. Formerly the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman at Publicis Health and most recently COO of Publicis Groupe’s US Operations, Nick led one of the world’s premier communications networks, helping to knit a handful of independent agencies into a global powerhouse. He is known for his ability to manage growth, build lasting relationships, and guide agencies through cultural change as they scale up. He is also renowned as a mentor of leaders throughout the industry. For minds + assembly, his skillset couldn’t be more relevant.

Mabo, a digital marketing agency based in Middlesbrough with an additional office in Glasgow, is excited to announce the appointment of three new department heads, marking a significant milestone in the agency’s growth trajectory. Mabo has appointed Sam Hood as the Head of Training, Steve Maybury as the Head of Customer Success, and Natalia Cadavid as the Head of Commercial. These seasoned professionals bring a wealth of experience and fresh perspectives to their respective roles, poised to drive innovation and excellence across the agency.

bandstand is pleased to announce the appointment of Ed Pettit in the new role of Head of Production; responsible for all film, photography and audio output for the agency. Formerly Partner and Head of Production at hybrid creative/production agency Alpha Century, he is a specialist in working with major A-list talent. At Alpha Century he was responsible for award-winning campaigns including Owen Wilson and Helena-Bonham Carter for Sofology and Danny McBride for Coral along with running global shoots for Virgin Atlantic, Cunard, Boux Avenue, Macmillan, Baylis & Harding and Save the Children. He will work closely with the bandstand creative and strategy teams to deliver ambitious projects that ignite change for ambitious brands through creative excellence whilst delivering real value to clients through our in-house full-service production offering. Ed joins with immediate effect and will merge his own production company: Forty-Four Films into the bandstand offering – bringing new clients to the agency.

Fuse, the sport and entertainment marketing agency, part of Omnicom Media Group has hired Sophie Forrest to the newly created role of International New Business & Marketing Director to spearhead its market expansion. In her new role, Forrest will oversee marketing and new business internationally, helping Fuse strengthen its sport and entertainment offering across 16 current international markets. Current international clients include PepsiCo, Nissan, Enterprise, Google, FedEx, and JustEat Takeaway. She joins with extensive background in commercial sport and sponsorship strategy with a significant tenure in Asia Pacific. Forrest previously spent 4 years at CSM Sport & Entertainment in Hong Kong, leading some of its biggest regional accounts, before joining East Asia Super League to help build its regional business and proof-of-concept basketball tournaments. In 2020 she joined Football Marketing Asia where she worked her way up to Senior Vice-President of Commercial Strategy. Fuse has also promoted Ellie Mainwaring to Head of New Business & Marketing in the UK. Responsible for driving new business strategy, Mainwaring will oversee new business processes from lead generation and prospecting to pitch conversion. She has over 20 years of experience on both agency and client side and has extensive connections across the wider OMG agency group. During her 8 years at Fuse, she has served as Director of Fuse OMD UK, and latterly Director of Business Development.

M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment has announced the appointment of Laura Coller into the position of UK CEO. Coller has been promoted from her current role as Managing Director and will be assuming CEO duties across M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment and its associated lifestyle offering, M&C Saatchi Fabric, from April 2024. In her role as CEO, she will oversee a team of 100+ creative communications professionals in the UK and will continue to grow the agency’s sector specialist offer across sport, entertainment and culture. Coller joined M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment 15 years ago, serving as a Board Director for the past seven years, during which time the agency has continued to innovate in the sector, winning awards for its work with some of the biggest brands, sponsors and rights holders in the UK and globally. During her tenure Coller has played an instrumental role in shaping and accelerating the business, leading many of the Agency’s highest-profile work, including global campaigns for Reebok with Victoria Beckham, Kendrick Lamar, Gigi Hadid and Ariana Grande, launching Cristiano Ronaldo’s personal CR7 brand and activating work for adidas with Hailey Bieber and Stormzy.

Customer engagement agency RAPP UK has announced significant changes to its Marketing Sciences department with the newly created role of Senior Vice  President of Analytics and a new Senior Vice President of Data Science. George Cushen has joined RAPP as Senior Vice President of Data Science while James Heimers has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Analytics. Both will report to Chief Marketing Sciences Officer UK, Andy Rowe, and will work to strengthen key client relationships, deliver the most innovative initiatives for the agency and create new products to scale through their departments. In their new roles, Cushen and Heimers will work closely as department heads to solidify RAPP’s existing foundations, as well as driving growth for their teams and using the latest disruptive technology and techniques in marketing sciences to evolve RAPP’s data-driven solutions for its clients. Cushen, a PhD in Machine Learning and Computer Vision, has joined RAPP from Amyris,  where he was Head of Data and Science, he also previously held roles at the Very  Group and Farfetch where he received multiple awards for his innovative work. He brings hands-on and extensive experience in artificial intelligence to support and oversee the rapidly growing Data Science department, applying data-driven precision marketing for more efficient marketing spend, more explainable attribution and stronger lifetime value for RAPP clients’ customers. Promoted from his role as Vice President of Analytics at RAPP, Heimers played a pivotal role in the success of the current Analytics department leading many initiatives across innovative work in measurement, personalisation at scale and data-driven creativity. In this new role, Heimers will oversee an Analytics department of more than 65 people, and will lead the team bridging the gap between creativity, data and tech. He has previously worked at MRM and Virgin Atlantic. 

CTI Digital, a UK technology, experience and digital marketing agency, is announcing a significant enhancement in its operational structure to better serve its expanding client portfolio. The new structure puts in place a more senior level of client engagement. Each Strategic Business Lead (SBL) will lead a multi-million-pound portfolio of clients and will be supported and empowered by a dedicated team of Operations, Tech, Strategy, Commercial, Creative and Delivery colleagues. The SBLs are tasked with delivering better commercial outcomes for CTI’s clients through the delivery of digital solutions. Initially, there will be four SBLs, each leading a multi-million-pound client portfolio. Three existing CTI staff members have been promoted to the role of SBL: Christina Nobbs and Alex Ryan, who were previously Account Directors, and Samantha Bell, who has been promoted from Brand Strategy Director to the role of SBL. Additionally, Amy Ratcliffe has returned to CTI after a brief stint at regional Manchester agency DEPT, to take on the fourth SBL role.

Data and AI enterprise transformation consultancy, Mesh-AI, has announced it has made two senior appointments to support its growth and expand transformation across both its financial services and energy and utilities clients. Jacob Parsons takes up the role of Chief Revenue Officer and James Houlton as Director – Energy & Utilities. Both join Mesh-AI from Amazon Web Services (AWS). Parsons was previously Head of Enterprise Sales UK at AWS where he was responsible for multi-billion dollar revenue across four vertical industries including energy, financial services, media and telco, retail and CPG. There, he developed a high-performing sales team, growing the organisation’s footprint and entering new markets. In his role as Chief Revenue Officer, Parsons is focused on enabling Mesh-AI’s customers to derive the maximum benefit from effective data and AI strategies, drawing on decades of experience. Parsons has been selected for his track record in delivering on a business outcome-based approach in sectors that stand to gain the most from AI. While at AWS, Houlton held the position of UK Head Strategy and Solutions for Energy & Utilities. Prior to that, he worked for Npower and Severn Trent Water. At AWS, he worked with large enterprise transformation projects across the energy value chain. He made great strides towards the energy transition in a complex, heavily regulated, industry that requires greater decarbonisation in a way that keeps costs affordable for customers. In his new role, Houlton will be responsible for embedding advanced data and AI capabilities for Mesh-AI’s energy & utilities clients, and enabling their decarbonisation journeys as they strive to meet ambitious net zero targets. From improving data integrity to increasing organisational visibility through to improving forecasting capacity, distribution and working with regulators, Houlton brings extensive industry knowledge to Mesh-AI’s customer base.

The Lending Standards Board (LSB) has added a wealth of policy and governance expertise to its Board with the Non-Executive Director appointments of broadcaster Iain Dale, economic authority Paul Johnson CBE and charity sector leader Caron Bradshaw OBE. Dale, Johnson and Bradshaw replaced Liz Barclay and Graham Peacop, who have stepped down as LSB Non-Executive Directors at the end of their terms, on 1 April. The LSB’s Standards and industry codes cover 90% of UK personal lending and £120bn of lending to SMEs. The watchdog also provides the only sector-wide framework of protections for customers against authorised push payment fraud.