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: Nest Commerce, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, Wakemaker UK and more

Full-funnel performance agency Nest Commerce has announced the appointment of ex-Dentsu MD Chris Howard as Chief Operating Officer as it continues a rapid growth trajectory. Howard brings more than 2 decades of experience driving digital performance for leading national and global brands, with a focus on retail and ecommerce. He has developed this in a variety of leadership roles both in the big 6 agencies, and in-house including eBay and Shop Direct (now the Very Group) as Head of Digital. Howard’s most recent role was Managing Director of Performance Media at Dentsu, leading a team of more than 350 experts from 6 UK offices in delivering Paid Social, Paid Search, Affiliates and Retail Media campaigns for all clients across Dentsu’s agencies, including iProspect, Carat and Merkle.

Passions agency M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment announces the hire of Conall McAteer as its first-ever sport-specific Creative Director. The move signals a new approach to creative leadership designed to put brands at the heart of consumers’ passions in more curated ways. McAteer brings a wealth of experience to the agency, joining from We Are Social where he was responsible for ground-breaking work for clients including adidas football, running and Originals, Meta and Tommy Hilfiger, and previously delivered work including UEFA Women’s Euros, Microsoft x La Liga and AMEX x Wimbledon at Wasserman. He will report into managing partners Jenny Mitton and Ross Watson who oversee the agency’s sport department.

Wavemaker UK has promoted Andy Collins to the position of Head of Planning. Working alongside Head of Strategy, Monica Majumdar, and Head of Channel Planning, Emma Moorhead, Collins will lead the Communications Planning specialism, focusing on how clients ‘show up’ in media. In his new position, Collins will be responsible for formulating the most effective combination and phasing for each client plan. This aligns with Majumdar’s role to unlock growth opportunities by defining the audiences brands want to reach, and Moorhead’s, whose remit is to utilise deep expertise within the channel to deliver an effective platform plan. Ultimately, the new structure will cover all areas of the craft, allowing for a more fluid and agile client servicing model. A 15-year veteran of the agency, Collins has held a variety of roles during his time at the agency, most recently as Strategy Partner. He has also worked across various industries, including finance, automotive, travel, entertainment, and FMCG clients. 

Skout, an employee owned B2B PR and communications agency, has hired James Bentley to oversee its content production service, strengthening its ambition to become a £3 million business by 2025. With its commitment to delivering brilliant services to its expanding roster of clients, Bentley joins as content manager in response to growing demand for this service. One of his main responsibilities will be to oversee the creation of insightful, engaging content for clients as the company continues to grow. Prior to joining Skout, Bentley held positions as a journalist for BBC North West Tonight before joining Leeds-based B2B agency Social, where he was part of the two-person team that won the Prolific North Tech PR Campaign of the Year in 2022. He has also held marketing roles at United Utilities and The University of Manchester. He brings over 20 years of experience in marketing and content writing and will be supporting the team across a variety of diverse clients spanning tech, built environment, HR, and facilities management. 

Customer acquisition specialist esbconnect has appointed John Ball as Sales Manager and Jake Ness as Client Solutions Director. Ball will work across the company’s entire product and service portfolio, with a particular focus on Inbox Extend – this enables clients to utilise esbconnect’s rich Inbox data to target addressable audiences at scale, through social and programmatic channels (17m consumers with 440+ data points). He will also develop the strong connections he has established with large, multinational agencies and smaller independents to offer co-developed solutions to their clients. Ball has spent more than a decade in data, most recently in a series of senior roles at Adverity, a martech SaaS platform, helping marketers to visualise data and extract insight from it. Ness joins esbconnect after more than seven years at Inflecto Media, where he ran lead generation across mobile, establishing the agency’s mobile division and putting ad tracking and fraud protection measures in place. Ness will work with clients such as Hello Fresh, Clarks and Secret Sales to engage new customers across devices and channels, using email as a trusted digital identifier and helping brands to build a multi-dimensional picture of individuals. He will harmonise esbconnect’s three core products of data-driven emails, first-party data builds and Inbox Extend, all underpinned by the firm’s data asset of 17m unique emails, to create a 360-degree view for clients. He is also working on an industry-first method of attribution.

Leeds based strategic marketing agency, Fantastic Media, has made a flurry of promotions and appointments as it targets continued growth throughout 2024. The promotions include a managing director role for Sally Willis who rejoined Fantastic last year as director of client services. Willis’s first spell at the agency lasted eight and a half years and saw her rise from senior account executive to head of operations. Joining Fantastic Media as account director is Stephanie Stretton, who brings with her 15 years of experience in international sales and marketing roles, with a focus on branding, partnerships and performance. Prior to joining Fantastic, Stretton was account director at Anything is Possible in Brighton. At Fantastic, she will work across a range of industries with key clients including APS, British Weight Lifting, S2S, Schades, Skopes, Stell, and Stove Supermarket. Sam Ward joins as a multi-channel marketing apprentice with a master’s degree in marketing from the University of Manchester and a stint as a marketing assistant at outdoor clothing company, TOG24. Ward will primarily be supporting Fantastic’s director of strategy and insights, Gary Pattison, on the agency’s strategic business discovery programme, iNSIGHT, which all new clients undergo. The agency has made five other promotions including senior web developer, Carl Smith, being promoted to lead web developer after spending 11 years with the agency. Sarah Miller has been promoted from account executive to account manager after a year at Fantastic Media, and Emma Pearson has been promoted to senior account executive after eight months at the agency. Finally, both Annie White and Seth Leech have completed their digital marketing apprenticeships and have been promoted to account executive and digital account executive respectively.

In a significant move poised to redefine its market positioning and innovation strategy, Kairos Group, a global creative social and influencer agency, is thrilled to welcome Laura Tannenbaum as the new Managing Director across Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). This appointment supports the agency’s commitment to driving growth and fostering a culture of creativity, innovation and strategic excellence across its operations. Laura Tannenbaum transitions to Kairos Group from That Lot, where she was instrumental in transforming the agency from a startup to a creative social juggernaut, boasting a team of over 100 professionals and leading to its acquisition by IPG in 2017. With a career that spans nearly two decades in digital, social, and brand marketing, Tannenbaum has deep expertise in driving strategic agency growth, nurturing creative and innovative cultures, as well as securing and managing high-profile client relationships with leading global brands. In her new role, Tannenbaum is tasked with steering Kairos Group’s strategic initiatives across the EMEA territories, enhancing the agency’s service offerings, and solidifying its reputation as a leader in delivering impactful and valuable digital experiences and solutions. Her strategic focus will include driving operational excellence, amplifying the agency’s creative and innovative capabilities, and expanding its reach into new markets and sectors beyond its renowned expertise in gaming.

Clarity, the global digital marketing and communication agency, has announced a key new appointment, a new executive committee (ExCo) and several senior promotions. Clarity CEO, Rachel Gilley, announced that experienced American communications executive Kristen Ingraham had been appointed Clarity’s President North America following a comprehensive search. Ingraham is based in New York and brings more than two decades of experience in B2B and B2C communications, integrated marketing and C-suite advisory with leading agencies in North America. She will spearhead Clarity’s growth in North America from its current base of offices in New York and California. The announcement coincides with the appointment of a new ExCo to support Rachel Gilley, who became CEO last month to drive the next phase of Clarity’s global growth. Alongside Gilley, Clarity’s new ExCo comprises: Tom Telford, President Digital Marketing; Robyn Sefiani, President ANZ & Reputation Counsel; Nick Lansman, President Corporate Affairs; Will Julian-Vicary, Head of Technology; Caroline Iroegbu, General Counsel; and Kristen Ingraham, President North America. Gilley also announced several promotions within Clarity: Tom Telford to Chief Digital Officer, Will Julian-Vicary to Chief Technology Officer, Liam McLaughlin to Senior Partner UK Comms and Sydney-based Nick Owens to President Corporate & Crisis Communications.