UM has appointed Sam Geer as national strategy officer, AdNews can reveal. Geer will replace Sophie Price, who is leaving UM to take up the role of group head of strategy at M&C Saatchi.
It is the second major leadership change at the agency in a week after CEO Ross Raeburn left the post to lead Mediabrands' mobile solutions agency Ansible this week.
Price, whose background was in creative shops The Campaign Palace and The Monkeys, was a major hire two years ago when then UM-CEO Mat Baxter was transforming the agency into a creatively-led media shop.
Price and Raeburn's exits so soon after the sudden exit of global CEO Henry Tajer are notable.
Geer has been UM's Sydney strategy director for the past 18 months. The agency said he has played an important role in winning new business, including Optus, Virgin Mobile and Lion, since he joined in January 2015.
The award-winning strategist has also played an integral role on UM's major clients, such as Coca-Cola.
He will be replaced as Sydney strategy director by Chris Colter, a former global Cannes Young Lions and MFA Grand Prix winner for work with LEGO.
“Sam Geer is a home-grown professional who is now among the smartest strategists I have worked with. UM has been a powerhouse over the past few years and with Sam heading up strategy the agency will undoubtedly continue to lead the industry in connections thinking and evolve our product for the future,” IPG Mediabrands Australia CEO Danny Bass said.
Geer added: “Creative connections has developed into a powerful positioning and with the wider team we will be evolving the product with new power, infusing sharper, market-leading data into our creative media solutions.”
Sophie Price has joined M&C Saatchi as group head of strategy.
Price joins M&C Saatchi where she will support leadership teams across the advertising, communications and production businesses, reporting to chief strategy officer Justin Graham.
“I’ve known Sophie for a long time and have always admired her ability to engineer great work. In recent years, Sophie has relished the opportunity to productise the strategic offering, a critical skill that will help us thrive among the changing competitive dynamics of the industry,” Graham said.
“As we continue to run toward our ambition of 'becoming Australia's most influential creative company by 2020', Sophie is a key hire in helping us think differently about the changing role of strategy. Her diverse background and experience in leading integrated teams makes her a perfect fit for our growing capabilities across the Group, in particular the recent addition of Bohemia.”
Prior to joining M&C Saatchi, Price was chief strategy officer at UM Australia since the start of 2015. The move marks a return to the creative side of the business.
“I am excited to be part of this incredible group, and to lead a team that have the breadth and depth of capabilities to create connected brand experiences for our clients,” she said.
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