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The Drum Digerati top 10 revealed: Now tell us who should be No.1 and our Dadi Individual of the Year


By The Drum Team | Editorial



September 18, 2013 | 11 min read

Today we can reveal who you have voted as the top 10 talents working in the UK digital industry.

And now it is up to you to decide who takes the number one spot - and earns the special recognition of being named the Dadi Awards Individual of the Year.

Earlier this month, we asked you to tell us who belonged in The Drum Digerati, a definitive list of 100 of the most influential individuals working in digital in the UK. You responded in your droves - casting more than 3,500 votes.

Here we present you with the top 10 in alphabetical order by surname. We would like you to click the box next to the candidate who you believe is the most deserving of topping the Digerati and winning the Dadi award. Voting closes at midnight on Wednesday 25 September, and please note you can only vote once - so use your vote carefully!

Please note voting has now closed. The Drum Digerati will be revealed in full in a special publication in October. The person who holds the number one position will be named as the Individual of the Year at the Dadi Awards on Thursday 10 October.

Ajaz Ahmed, CEO, AKQA

“Part Dalai Lama, part Sir Alex Ferguson,” was how Ajaz Ahmed described his leadership style to The Drum in April, and the AKQA boss has drawn on the former’s powers of diplomacy and the latter’s formidable work ethic to keep his agency’s focus on the creative, rather than the corporate, since it relinquished its independence to become one of the 350+ agencies in the WPP empire in June 2012.

Despite its acquisition by Sir Martin Sorrell’s juggernaut, it is Ahmed, who founded the agency as a precocious 21-year-old in 1995, who remains AKQA’s central figure. In the last 12 months he has overseen its most successful ever performance at Cannes Lions, winning 12 awards, its anointment as BIMA’s digital agency of the year and a strong showing in The Drum’s Digital Census.

Already a digital veteran, Ahmed continues to show a willingness to embrace new ideas by playing a hands-on role in the appointment of a new creative director in London and the opening of AKQA’s first Tokyo office.

Natalie Bell, head of digital, Manning Gottlieb OMD

As head of digital at Manning Gottlieb OMD, Natalie Bell looks after all areas of digital planning including display, search, social and mobile. A passionate practitioner, she works with some of the UK’s top brands including Virgin Media, John Lewis, Starbucks and Virgin Atlantic.

She has helped lead digital growth at the agency, almost doubling the digital teams in the last few years, and growing emerging channels into fully formed departments such as the 15-strong social team, which has picked up social media accounts from the likes of Waitrose, Specsavers and Renault.

She is passionate about development and nurturing the best digital talent, and as such has created the first agency-backed certificate in digital marketing: Platform, in partnership with the IDM. An accreditation that the 280 members of MG OMD are currently taking part in.

Marco Bertozzi, executive managing director EMEA, VivaKi

Marco Bertozzi started his career in TV advertising before moving into digital in 2000. As a founding member of Zenith Interactive Solutions, Zenith's then digital arm, he enjoyed the highs and lows of the digital revolution and progressed through the ranks of ZenithOptimedia to become its head of digital in 2007, before spending two years at TMP Worldwide in senior media, digital and advertising roles.

Bertozzi established VivaKi Nerve Center, now just VivaKi, from scratch and launched addressable media buying practice Audience On Demand in the UK in 2010. In three years that has now expanded to 13 markets and Bertozzi recently oversaw the launch of Vivaki's European Activation Center.

Bertozzi's role on the global executive of VivaKi sees him also overseeing all areas of VivaKi in the EMEA region - including partnerships, platform and AOD activation - and The Pool, the innovation arm set up by VivaKi to research and launch creative formats of the future. He continues to be a consistent contributor to conferences and the industry in the digital space and in particular the fast paced world of RTB.

Bruce Daisley, UK managing director, Twitter

2013 has been a landmark year for Twitter in the UK. On 6 September, the social network announced that it had hit 15m active UK users, and on the same day it confirmed that it had promoted its sales director Bruce Daisley to the new role of UK managing director, replacing Tony Wang.

Daisley, a prominent speaker and familiar face on the digital scene, joined Twitter from Google in 2012 to spearhead its commercial offering, and has been instrumental in convincing hundreds of brands to realise the site’s advertising potential through its Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts products. In 2010, New Media Age awarded Daisley for making the Greatest Individual Contribution to new media.

Today, as one of Twitter’s country managers with the company on the cusp of its much-vaunted IPO, Daisley is presented with an opportunity to make an even greater contribution to the digital industry’s development. It is hard not to look at his title with envy.

James Hart, director, Asos

“I work with the customers, the business and the tech guys and bridge the gap between all three to create something that really works.” That was how James Hart, typically referred to as Asos’ e-commerce director, described his role at the company in a rare interview with fashion business magazine Drapers this summer – and boy, has it worked. Starting life in 2000 as a homewares and clothes seller dubbed As Seen on Screen, Asos has evolved into one of the UK’s biggest fashion businesses with a market value of £4bn. This week it is expected to report strong fourth quarter financial results with a 43 per cent increase in sales to £208m.

Since its beginning, Hart has been the driving force behind many of Asos’ most innovative ideas and the stickler for detail has become renowned for his attention to customer feedback. He revised the retailer’s latest mobile site through five iterations on the advice of its users following its launch in April.

Nick Hynes, CEO, Somo

Such is Nick Hynes’ influence, you’ll often find his name accompanied by the epithet ‘founder of paid search in Europe’ – and not without good reason. Hynes was the founder of Overture Europe, which he turned from a start-up into a billion dollar business spanning 16 countries in just 30 months, before it was bought by Yahoo for $1.63bn in 2003 and rebranded as Yahoo Search Marketing.

Then he established The Search Works as Europe’s largest search agency and sold its parent company, The IMW Group, to Tradedoubler AB for $112m in 2007. Before all that, he created the electronic points system for Air Miles and loyalty schemes for Natwest, BT and Vodafone.

A true renaissance man, Hynes may have made his name in search, but now he is making his fortune in mobile with Somo, which he co-founded with Carl Uminski in 2009. The mobile marketing company has offices in London, San Francisco, LA, New York, Singapore and Berlin and counts Audi, Red Bull and the New York Times among its enviable client list.

Natalie Massenet, executive chairman, Net-A-Porter

Natalie Massenet is the founder and executive chairman of The Net-A-Porter Group, whose brands including Net-A-Porter, the luxury fashion retailer for women, The Outnet and Mr Porter. Massenet has been honoured with an MBE for services to the fashion industry and ranked 20th in the 2011 Wired 100 – a survey of Britain’s digital power players. She has been named as one of 10 women to watch in Europe by the Wall Street Journal, won Harper’s Bazaar’s innovator of the year award and was named in The Drum Mobile Top 50.

The former Tatler fashion editor launched Net-A-Porter in 1999 as an online magazine and it has grown to become one of Britain’s most inventive retailers. As a sign of things to come, it has just launched a new social network mobile app, called The Netbook, to connect fashion-minded individuals. Users will be able to create their own profile, where they build a ‘Love List’ diary based on their favourite products from the site.

Cat Turner, co-founder, Native LDN

Cat Turner co-founded social brand communications agency Native LDN with Bridey Lipscombe in November 2012. In less than a year the company has secured clients internationally (in Germany, Singapore, New York and Sweden), launching Mascotte in the UK, hosting a live in-store Google Hangout cookalong for supermarket chain Booths and turning Digital Fashion Week Singapore into the world’s first ‘shopable’ live streamed fashion week in partnership with the British Council. Having founded Native LDN in their twenties, Turner and Lipscombe have put an emphasis on nurturing youthful talent, and all of their team so far are under 30.

Before Native LDN, Turner was director of digital for The Rabbit Agency and digital communications manager for The Brand Union. She managed the online campaign for the Liberal Democrats during the 2010 General Election and has run social media training and talks for Social Media Week, The East End Film Festival and The Independent Cinema Office.

Nigel Vaz, European managing director, SapientNitro

“Our industry has made too many heroes of people for buying or selling their agencies.” With those words, jarring against the prevailing ‘Sell! Sell! Sell!’ mood of the digital industry, Nigel Vaz became the poster boy for agency independence this summer. It is difficult to scoff at his determinedly entrepreneurial attitude when presented with the sheer weight of numbers that evidence how far an independent state of mind can take you in the digital business. With around 1,000 staff, Vaz has built SapientNitro from a start-up a decade ago into the UK’s largest independent agency. And with a fee income of around £132m, way ahead of its rivals, it can make a legitimate case to being the biggest agency in the digital industry by any measure.

Under his leadership, the agency has won 18 accounts and projects this year including Barclays, Kao and Moet Hennessy Europe and according to our Digital Census, enjoyed a fee income growth of just over £24m. Vaz has done it his way – and which of us doesn’t aspire to do that?

Ben Wood, president, iProspect Global

One of Ben Wood’s three rules to being a good MD is: “Listen, but know when to trust your own judgment – seek consensus, but know when and how to make tough decisions that not everyone will agree with.” Such is the value placed in Wood’s judgement that in May he was promoted to president for iProspect Global, the digital performance marketing specialist, and charged with growing its brand around the world.

Described by his own company as “one of digital marketing’s industry veterans”, it is on the back of Wood’s hugely impressive contribution to the agency that he has earned his global stripes. Wood drove iProspect UK to a turnover of more than £150m and a team of over 240 digital specialists delivering 12 digital performance products and services to a range of clients across travel, retail, finance and FMCG sectors, and he was instrumental in the building of Amnet - Aegis' trading desk.

Before all that he was managing director of Carat Digital, managing partner at Vizeum and managing director of Diffiniti. Few digital CVs boast greater pedigree.


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