Movings/Shakings: 27 January

Executive shuffle at Spark 

Chris Quin, the chief executive of Spark home, mobile and business, has decided to leave the company by mid-year to attain his next leadership opportunity.

Spark’s managing director Simon Moutter spoke glowingly of the contribution Quin had made to the organisation over the last 20 years:

“By any measure, Chris has done a consistently terrific job in a range of executive roles at Spark New Zealand and Telecom/Gen-i before that. After a period as acting Telecom chief executive, Chris agreed when I re-joined the company in 2012 to move over to our home, mobile and business division with a brief to build a more customer inspired, competitive and successful core business. The results are very apparent.  Our Home, Mobile & Business Division is growing market share, revenue and earnings for the first time in many years on the back of Chris’ commitment to marketing and sales capability development, the Spark re-brand, digital service, people culture, cost reduction and product innovation.”

Quin is set to leave his position in June 2016, and Moutter says that his departure will coincide with some other structural changes at Spark.

“Our focus will shift from re-setting the foundation of the company to building upon this foundation in pursuit of growth,” said Moutter. 

“One important element of this process will be integrating the turnaround programme into the businesses so that the performance improvement mind-set becomes business-as-usual by June 2015. With the turnaround programme coming to its end, a new strategic programme – “Digital First” – will be set up over the next few months to centrally architect and steer the ongoing delivery of the digital transformation of our business.”

In support of these business changes, Spark will be making a few changes to the Spark New Zealand leadership team.

Jason Paris (left), currently the general manager of Spark home, mobile and business, will be taking over the reins from Quin as chief exectuvie from 1 July 2015. Paris, who never shies away from corresponding with public via the media, has been with the company for over three years. 

“As a leader in the rebranding to Spark, and recognising his status as one of the country’s best marketing executives, he is the right person to build the Spark brand from the successful launch last year and to position Spark at the heart of enabling the digital future for all New Zealanders,” said Moutter.

Rod Snodgrass (left), the chief executive of Spark Ventures, will take accountability for the new digital first programme in conjunction with his existing accountability for Spark Ventures. 

And Jolie Hodson (below), the chief financial officer, will take on some operational business activities in conjunction with her existing responsibilities, with the now more mature Skinny and Bigpipe businesses ready to move outside Spark Ventures and report directly into her with effect from 1 February 2015. 

The roles of the remaining members of the Leadership Team remain unchanged.

In related news, Spark home, mobile and business has also announced the appointment of Richard Sandford as its new head of business marketing. 

Paris said Sandford will bring a wealth of international business management and marketing leadership experience to what is a pivotal role for Spark. 

“We’re very excited to have someone of Richard’s calibre joining the team at what is such an important time for us,” he said. “Richard is passionate about the SME segment and the vital role it plays in the New Zealand economy, and his extensive B2B and commercial marketing background will mean he will hit the ground running.”

Sandford joins Spark from TVNZ where he currently serves as general manager of channel sales, leading the team responsible for driving around half of TVNZ’s total revenue.

He has previously held senior positions within Sky Television, BSkyB and Nokia Corporation.

He will move to Spark Business on 16 February.

NZME’s digital trinity

On 16 January, StopPress reported that NZME had picked up two former Yahoo employees in Ben Gibb and Andy Wylie. And now, in a follow-on announcement, NZME has confirmed the appointment of Marcus Forbes as the group general manager of digital content, completing a trio of appointments in the group digital team. 

Forbes comes from seven months heading up digital media with NZME Radio and has a further 14 years’ experience creating and implementing media content strategies to drive engagement, and most recently served as general manager of media at Yahoo New Zealand and concurrently as a director of Yahoo!7 in Australia. 

Commenting on his shift to the new role in a release, Forbes said that he believed NZME had a bright future following last year’s structural changes.     

“The Digital Team has great creative and innovative minds and a focus on delivering amazing content across all platforms every day,” he said. “The big plus is we have a true vision for where NZME. is going and what we want to achieve.”

Laura Maxwell-Hansen, NZME’s director of digital media, said the new group digital team will become a single point of contact for sales, content and operations questions and strategy.  
“The media environment requires our digital team to be brilliant, cohesive and responsive,” said Maxwell-Hansen. “Audiences have rejected scheduled TV and we-tell-you programming. Our new digital team is designed to drive the invention of the new media environments as much as help our advertisers to navigate this exciting new landscape across platforms.”

All about the activations

Dentsu Aegis Network New Zealand has announced the appointment of Bríd Drohan-Stewart as general manager of its activations agencies.

This move brings an end to Drohan-Stewart’s short-lived stint at Cadbury, where she served as the general manager of marketing from March last year.

With over 25 years’ commercial brand experience, Drohan-Stewart is a familiar name within the industry, most recently having held the position of general manager of marketing at Mondelēz. Prior to this, Drohan-Stewart held senior roles in a number of FMCG businesses, most notably as Marketing Director for The Coca-Cola Company in the UK.

The appointment marks the final step of a restructure of the ApolloNation and Synergy Brand Experience agencies.

Robert Harvey, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network New Zealand said: “Drohan-Stewart’s extensive experience has given her an intrinsic understanding of shopper, experiential and promotional marketing from a deep-specialist level. We believe that her appointment will make a real statement to the market about our intent for our Activations businesses. Drohan-Stewart is a great fit culturally and I look forward to her contribution on our senior management team.”

Drohan-Stewart expressed enthusiasm about joining the new company.

“I’ll be bringing to the table a wealth of client-side and activations experience from several years in the New Zealand market, along with extensive experience in sports and sponsorship leveraging which will really bolster our offering in the market,” she said. 

Drohan-Stewart’s appointment comes off the back of a number of additional senior engagements made within Synergy Brand Experience this past year, with Jacqui Deed promoted from ApolloNation Melbourne to the position of agency director role and, more recently, the appointment of experiential specialist Greg Southey as account director.

Drohan-Stewart is based in Dentsu Aegis Network’s Auckland office.

Two for the new team

MediaWorks has added two new faces to commercial director Paul Hancox’s team, which was formed halfway through last year. 

The first of these is Jacqui Hopkins, who joins the company as a media strategist working across MediaWorks’ TV, radio and digital platforms.

Hopkins joins MediaWorks from NZME, where she was a business manager in the collaborative media solutions department, working with clients such as ATEED and Tourism Victoria. She has worked on and off with NZME since 1998 (when it was APN), starting in the entertainment category, then working in key accounts as a sales lead, with a varied range of clients, including Stella Travel, Mitre 10, Telecom, BMW, Brancott Estate and Tourism Australia.

The second new appointment is Kelly Beange, who will be working alongside Hancox and Fiona Hamilton in the agency and programme partnerships team across multiple projects. 

Beange comes from an agency background, having most recently served as a media director at Spark PHD. She also has in-depth knowledge of the MediaWorks Radio business, having worked alongside the radio marketing team for more than 11 years.  

Beange joins MediaWorks on 9 February, while Hopkins starts in the second quarter.

Breaking the ice 

Icebreaker, recently announced that Kate Winstone will join the brand as regional marketing manager for New Zealand and Australia, making her responsible for optimising and executing the global brand and seasonal marketing programmes across all southern hemisphere sales channels and consumer touch points.

“Kate’s strong consumer product and retail experience will be an incredible asset to the Icebreaker team as the business reaches its third decade,” says Greg Smith, Icebreaker’s general manager for New Zealand and Australia. 
Winstone has nine years of experience in multi-national beauty brands across New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Europe, and her background includes marketing of both luxury and FMCG brands.  

She most recently served at L’Oréal New Zealand where she worked as a group brand manager for the iconic beauty brands L’Oréal Paris and Garnier. Winstone also brings business-to-business experience to table, having previously led marketing communications for salon-exclusive haircare brands Kérastase and Matrix. Prior to L’Oréal, Kate worked as a senior brand manager at Revlon UK , developing brand strategy across the UK  and Europe with a heavy focus on content creation and digital engagement.

‘’My passion lies in developing consumer-centric strategies to grow a business which is well aligned with Icebreaker’s world class creative thinking,” says Winstone. “Icebreaker represents a product that I am passionate about, with brand values that I believe in.  I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the next growth chapter for such an iconic New Zealand brand acting on the national and international stage.’’

Winstone will be based at Icebreaker’s Auckland main headquarters.

SEO duo

Connie Miller has been appointed to the position of project manager at Auckland-based search engine optimisation firm Pure SEO.

Drawing on her project management experience across the corporate, not-for-profit, arts, education, and other sectors, Miller will be responsible for the development and execution of projects for key clients.  

Before joining Pure SEO Miller was project manager for the Just Water International group, and she has served as a mentor in the women’s mentoring programme at the University of Auckland Business School since 2010. Miller is also a founding trustee of the Mazda Foundation Trust, which was established in 2005 as a public charitable trust to assist a broad cross-section of worthy New Zealand charitable entities, causes and individuals. 

From 2007 to 2014 Miller was a director of the SPCA Auckland, and also chairperson of the people, remuneration and development committee. From 2003 to 2006 she served as the business development and sponsorship manager for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, for which she was responsible for raising one-third of the annual operating income.

Pure SEO owner and chief executive Richard Conway described Miller as a “valuable addition to the Pure SEO team.  

“Connie is one of the most experienced and competent project managers in the country, and her strategic skills and enthusiasm will be critical to our continued success and growth.”

Pure SEO has also made a second appointment in Michelle Roach, who joins the company as a digital content strategist.

In this newly created client-facing role, Roach will be responsible for leading and growing the strategic content division within Pure SEO. Roach and her team will assist with conceptualisation, implementation and amplification of content-driven SEO strategies.

Roach’s experience in communications most recently includes four years at Transdev Auckland, where she led high-level media management for projects such as Rugby World Cup, the electrification of Auckland rail, and the introduction of new lines and trains. She has also worked in communications roles for Chorus, Auckland City Council, and Metrowater, and previously as a journalist and feature writer.

Joining the start-up

Megan Smith has been appointed the head of global sales and marketing at Totalview Solutions – Vega, a software start-up based in Auckland. 

Before joining the company, which facilitates a CRM and supporter engagement platform for small to medium-sized enterprises, Smith served as the chief executive of Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa between June 2013 and November 2014. 

Prior to this, Smith worked as a product manager at Roche for approximately ten years. 

In an email to her media contacts, Smith expressed optimism about joining Vega.  

“Vega will be to community groups and SMEs globally what XERO is to accounting and the team at Vega are truly looking forward to helping drive growth and innovation globally with our breakthrough engagement technology,” she said. “Our cloud based, fully integrated platform is unique and very, very special and I am absolutely thrilled to be part of it.”

A spokesperson says that decision to let Smith go was because Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa cannot afford the full-time chief executive salary.

The organisation is currently looking for a part-time replacement. 

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