Movers & Shakers: GroupM, DDB, ACM

By AdNews | 4 June 2021

It's hard to keep up with all the latest moves across media, marketing and advertising, so we've made a list. Check out the some of the biggest moves this week.

GroupM names Venessa Hunt's replacement
GroupM Australia has named Deepak Tahiliani as head of digital investment. Tahiliani replaces Venessa Hunt who departed GroupM late last year to join industry body ThinkPremiumDigital as its general manager. Tahiliani, who has more than 15 years' experience in digital, joins from GroupM India. In his six years with GroupM he has been leading large vendor relationships with global partners and driving growth in digital trading across on of GroupM’s fastest growing regions. Tahiliani has relocated to Sydney and is starting the role in June.

DDB promotes Andrew Little and Priya Patel
DDB Worldwide has appointed Andrew Little as president and regional CEO for DDB Group across Australia and New Zealand, elevating him to DDB Worldwide’s global leadership team. Little, who has been group CEO of DDB Australia for the past seven years, is a 21-year veteran of the global advertising and marketing agency, beginning his career in Melbourne in 2000. Managing director of DDB Sydney Priya Patel has also been promoted to become the first female CEO for DDB Group New Zealand. Patel has been managing director of DDB Sydney since 2018 and had more than 14 years’ agency experience in the UK before moving to Australia in 2017.

ACM's hiring spree
Australian Community Media (ACM) has made a string of new hires across its editorial, commercial, and marketing teams. In the commercial team Anna Hosking has been promoted to commercial director for national sales. Nathan Soulsby joins as sales director for NSW national sales and Sam Westaway joins as national client solutions director. Angela Haydon has also been promoted to sales director for Victoria national sales. Joining the marketing team is Sally Roscholler as trade marketing manager. In the editorial team, ACM has also named Jen Melocco as national property news director and Karen Barlow as chief political correspondent based in Canberra.

San Remo marketer joins SATC
Marketing and advertising professional Erik de Roos is joining the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) as the new executive director of marketing. He replaces Brent Hill who has resigned to take on a new role at an international tourism agency. Hill has been working with the SATC since late 2015. With more than 20 years of experience in the field, de Roos comes to the SATC after five years as chief marketing officer with the San Remo Macaroni company. Prior to that he held a long career working in advertising, most notably at Clemenger BBDO.

Essence bolsters experience in APAC
Essence has appointed Magda Wolder as head of experience, APAC, based in Singapore. She will lead the agency’s specialist experience capabilities including creative, content innovation and studio. Wolder joined Essence in 2018. She was previously head of creative strategy, EMEA at the agency’s London office.

M&C Saatchi elevates strategy
M&C Saatchi Sydney is continuing to build upon the growth of 2020 announcing multiple promotions across the group, acknowledging the increased scope of work and the changing identity of the M&C Saatchi Group AUNZ. The three key promotions include Melinda Lofts being elevated to head of CX strategy, Nick Jacobs now joining Rachael Fraser as the head of integrated strategy and Emma Parsons now taking on the role of head of content.

Sunshine Coast's new marketing boss
Tourism marketer Kelly Ryan has been appointed to the key role of head of marketing at Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC). During the past 12 years, Ryan has supported the Canberra tourism industry in senior marketing roles including as director of strategy and insights as well as director of marketing at Visit Canberra. In this capacity, Ryan was responsible for leading a marketing team of 15 staff in delivering strategies and campaigns for the Australian Capital Territory. Most recently, she has been working at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra where she has held the position of manager external relations for the past eighteen months.

Black Sheep welcomes senior creative
Adelaide-based Black Sheep Advertising has welcomed senior creative Jane Keen (Keenie) to the agency. Keenie is an experienced art director and thinker. She has previously worked for agencies including KWP!, Clemenger Adelaide, NATION and BADJAR in Melbourne. She has worked across clients including BMW and Mini in Melbourne, and in Adelaide for clients including MAC (now SAPOL), BankSA, San Remo, The University of Adelaide, Nippy’s and more.

WPP AUNZ adds new comms duo
WPP AUNZ has appointed Nadia Fidler as PR manager and Laura Backhouse as internal communications manager, reporting to head of communications and marketing Toby Hemming. New PR manager Nadia Fidler was most recently account director at PR and brand engagement agency CampaignLab. She has previously worked at Pumpkin and Propeller Group, as well as Flagship Consulting in the UK. Internal communications manager Laura Backhouse joins WPP AUNZ from global pharmaceutical research company Astellas Pharma Australia where she was corporate communications manager. She has also worked in communications for Westpac Group and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Thrive appoints first CD
Thrive PR + Communications has appointed Tom Selby to the newly created creative director role as the agency continues to expand its creative capabilities. A multi-award-winning creative with more than 15 years’ international and local advertising agency experience, Tom has worked at creative agencies across Hong Kong and Sydney including DDB, Tribal DDB, 303Lowe, and, most recently, Archibald Williams.

Kanopi hires head of growth marketing
Digital insurance platform Kanopi has appointed former Assembly Payments marketer Vanessa Sammut as head of growth marketing, immediately building out its marketing arm with two additional hires. Sammut brings almost a decade of tech and fintech marketing experience to the role. In addition to her work at Assembly Payments, Sammut held marketing roles at UK payments company WorldPay and technology firm Canonical. Sammut is joined by marketing coordinator Akanksha Baadkar, who joins from UM Worldwide and digital content creator Natalia Abramova, who previously held a role at The Australian National University.

Semi Permanent creates new role
Creative experience company Semi Permanent has appointed Mitchell Oakley Smith to the newly created role of global content and creative director. Oakley Smith returns to his hometown of Sydney from Singapore, where he was until now working as the editor-in-chief of the Southeast Asian edition of international men’s lifestyle publication Esquire. Oakley Smith was formerly the global content and creative manager for Australian not-for-profit organisation The Woolmark Company, where he oversaw the implementation of an international, multi-language content program as the company shifted its media strategy from earned to owned. He also oversaw the creative direction of the company’s key projects.

Purpose-driven integrated communications agency Think HQ has announced the appointment of Professor Shane Hearn to the agency leadership team and the newly created role of head, First Nations engagement and communication. Professor Hearn will lead and build Think HQ’s First Nations Engagement and Communication function. He will provide insight into First Nations audiences and connect them to the agency’s work to ensure experiences are centred and the Indigenous audience is included in campaigns. He has previously worked as a director at CultureLink where he developed the NSW Health Aboriginal Strategic Framework for the prevention and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal Communities. He has also worked as a practice leader at Cox Inall Ridgeway, where he designed and led the roll out of the Federal Department of Health’s Live Longer campaign.


Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus