Rufus Leonard Creativity News

Rufus Leonard hires AKQA's Laurence Parkes to lead new strategy offering


By Seb Joseph | News editor

May 17, 2015 | 4 min read

Rufus Leonard has poached AKQA Amsterdam’s Laurence Parkes to head its new strategy team in a newlt created role that will look to strengthen its positioning around customer experience.

Parkes will sit on the board of the agency when he joins as chief strategy officer later this month.

His broader remit will be to further drive the agency’s focus on experience though one of his first tasks will be to steer the creation of its proprietary measurement tool. The tool is billed as the first of its kind to measure how a brand’s customer experience score compares against its purpose and against competitors.

Parkes’ hire is part of the agent’s revamped management structure that has seen other senior executives gain additional responsibilities. Client services director Lindsay Wall has been appointed to managing director, chief executive and head of information architecture Darrel Worthington is now chief experience officer and head of technology Peter Barker is now chief technology officer.

Parkes was strategy director at AKQA Amsterdam and is said to have helped to grow turnover from €3 million to €11 million in just four years. He has also held similar roles WCRS, DDB, and BBH and his work has seen him win Gold Cyber Lion and IPA and Marketing Effectiveness awards.

He is joined at the agency by Ross Timms as strategy director for customer experience alongside Sara Gordon as senior strategist. Timms has worked at agencies such Wilson Fletcher, Engine and IDEO, while Gordon was one of the first employees at LBi's New York, later moving to Lowe Profero to manage global digital initiatives for Unilever, Western Union and Lufthansa.

Parkes will replace Adam Fulford who left the agency in July 2014, while Timms and Gordon are newly created roles.Together, the trio will work across the agency’s client roster including PizzaExpress, Stagecoach, Bupa, John Lewis, Royal Mail and Lloyds Banking Group.

Neil Svensen, chief executive, co-founder and chief creative officer at Rufus Leonard, said: “We’re building a strategic capability fit for the experience age. This requires a multi-disciplined team helping clients with everything from unlocking a powerful brand purpose to driving multichannel brand experiences to business reinvention. With talents like Laurence, Ross and Sara on board we’re well-placed to deliver.”

The agency has been on a recruitment drive of late that has seen its headcount swell 25 per cent since 2014 following 11 new clients including PizzaExpress and Stagecoach. It appointed Carlo D’Alanno as creative director earlier this month.

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