Mindshare chief operating officer Sharb Farjarmi is to leave the agency and head up national sales at News Corp.
The move comes almost a year after Mindshare promoted Katie Rigg-Smith to the top job and Farjarmi from trading boss to COO following former CEO James Greet's move to Ikon.
It is not yet clear whether Farjarmi, formerly of MTV and with a brief stint at Ignite under his belt, will be directly replaced. 'I have only good things to say about Sharb. He was a salesman and wanted to return to sales," said Rigg-Smith. "We see it as a good opportunity [following the restructure] to see what we need. There has been a lot of change in the last 12 months. This is a good opportunity to reflect."
While a different type of role, Farjarmi's appointment follows a couple of recent exits at the Murdoch-owned publisher. Jason Barnes, until early February head of commercial development at News Corp, has joined Pubmatic. Meanwhile News Corp head of publisher trading desk, Evgeny Popov, left the company in January to become Asia-Pacific operations director at programmatic firm RadiumOne.
Farjarmi's News Corp start date has yet to be confirmed as he remains under contract and only told GroupM bosses of his decision on Friday. It is thought he will report directly to group sales director Fiorella di Santo.
Updated: News Corp has now confirmed Farjami's appointment and also announced that it has promoted commercial director for its national sales team, Neil Robinson, to director digital strategy and sales.
Both appointments are effective immediately. See the statement pasted below:
News Corp Australia strengthens National Sales Team with new key appointments
News Corp Australia’s group director – sales, Fiorella Di Santo, today announced two new senior roles in News Corp Australia’s national sales team.
Sharb Farjami will join News Corp Australia in the new role of national sales director from his current role as chief operating officer of Mindshare Australasia, while Neil Robinson will be promoted from his current role as commercial director for News Corp Australia’s national sales team to director digital strategy and sales. Both roles will report to Ms Di Santo.
“These two senior appointments reflect our commitment to delivering impactful and innovative advertising solutions to Australian advertisers through our relationship with 15 million Australians each month,” Ms Di Santo said.
In his new role, Mr Farjami will be responsible for leading the company’s national sales team.
Ms Di Santo said: “Sharb is a fantastic addition to our team. He has demonstrated abilities in leading advertising teams across the world. His extensive experience in the media industry and deep understanding of what national advertisers expect from media companies will ensure that News Corp Australia can continue to innovate and lead in advertising service and solutions.”
Mr Farjami said: “I’m delighted to be joining News Corp Australia at such an exciting time. The company has a rich suite of engaging brands and products including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser together with a stable of newspapers, magazines, websites and Apps. The opportunity to lead the national multi-platform sales offering of Australia’s number one media company was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
News Corp Australia is category leading in news, business, lifestyle and sport. It has the largest single media buy in the country through its Sunday print network and is home to Australia’s number one news website - news.com.au.
Mr Farjami joined Mindshare as chief exchange officer in July 2011 before being promoted to chief operating officer in April 2013. He joined Mindshare from Ignite Media Brands where he was national sales director. Prior to that, Mr Farjami spent 10 years at MTV Networks in roles across the globe including VP Advertising Sales, MTV Networks Australia and New Zealand, and group account director at MTV Europe.
Katie Rigg-Smith, Mindshare CEO said, “We are obviously sad to lose Sharb but know this is a great opportunity for him and wish him the very best of luck.”
In the new role of director digital strategy and sales, Mr Robinson will be responsible for developing and delivering News Corp Australia’s digital sales strategy. He will work closely with the product, technology, editorial and sales teams to create enhanced advertising products for national and local advertisers. He will also manage the company’s programmatic exchange and SME offering, news Xtend.
Ms Di Santo said: “This promotion reflects Neil’s successes during his time at News Corp Australia. He is a stand out performer and I am confident that he will excel in driving revenue across our suite of products.”
Mr Robinson said: “The opportunity to build on our digital offering is immense. Each month, almost 15 million Australians access a News Corp Australia brand across platforms.
“I look forward to supporting our editorial teams, and the great content they produce, with engaging digital advertising products and opportunities.”
Mr Robinson joined News Corp Australia in 2001 as group sales manager before being promoted to deputy sales director of the national advertising team. He was appointed sales director of the team in 2007. When News launched Australia’s largest cross-platform, integrated national sales team, Mr Robinson was promoted to general manager and then commercial director of the division where he oversaw the strategic direction of the company’s national accounts.
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