Publicis Media shakes-up UK senior team as AKQA's Morrissey takes on CEO role, while SMG's Parker heads to the Middle East

Publicis Media has snapped up AKQA’s general manager Amanda Morrissey (pictured above) to head up its UK business, while Starcom MediaVest Group's boss for the region departs to head up the group in the Middle East.

Morrissey has oversight of the media group’s four global agency brands – Starcom, Zenith, Mediavest & Spark and Optimedia & Blue 449, while Walker Media co-founder Phil Georgiadis will act as her strategic advisor and counsel in the chairman role. Additionally, both Morrissey and Georgiadis will oversee the seven global practices powering those main outlets with support in data, content, trading, performance, analytics and business transformation.

At AKQA, Morrissey is credited with leading the agency to deliver three consecutive years of double-digit growth, while also bringing in high-profile accounts such as EDF Energy, Barclays, M&S, Mondelez and Vodafone.

Of the appointments, Publics Media’s chief executive for its EMEA business – Iain Jacob, said: “These appointments combine the deep entrepreneurial media leadership expertise in Phil, with the proven transformation and agency management capability in Amanda.

"Amanda brings extensive experience of being at the forefront of digital innovation and working with brands on how best to leverage their capabilities in the digital age.

"Phil is an incredibly accomplished leader with an outstanding reputation, and his track record demonstrates his ability to grow brands and provide excellent advice and counsel. Both these appointments set the tone for our next phase of growth.”

That ambition has also led to a reshuffle of the holding group’s management team in the Middle East. Starcom Mediavest Group and Vivaki chariman Alex Saber will now take on the same role for Publicis Media’s operations in the Media East. Steve Parker, who was co-chief executive of Starcom Mediavest Group in the UK, has been appointed to chief executive of the region. Much like their new counterparts in the UK, Saber and Parker will work to harmonise the output of the four different agency brands, while also aligning the strategies to win and retain business.

“Our industry’s ever-evolving landscape, coupled with the velocity era of marketing, is paralleled with increasing client need for integration and consolidation of agency offerings,” said Saber.

"Publicis Media will simplify our offering for clients to deliver best-of-breed approaches, resources and talent across all areas of our business. I look forward to working with Steve Parker on delivering the promise of this bold vision and driving greater efficiency for our clients.”

Nicole Prüsse, who was previously chief executive for ZenithOptimedia’s Central, Northern, Easter Europe business will become chief operating officer for Publics Media EMEA. Her expanded remit will see her act as a key link for the four different agency brands in all the Groupe’s markets. The reason behind her promotion is to foster better collaboration across the revamped structure and manage resources more effectively.

The changes are the latest in a shakeup that has seen several senior executives including chief strategy officer Dylan Williams and Leo Burnett’s head of mobile and social James Kirkham depart.

While announced at the turn of the year, it is understood that much of the heavy lifting for the overhaul was done in 2015, the result of which is already being felt with a string of key account wins. In February, the business was awarded P&G’s global dish care account after a procurement led review, and earlier this week it was announced UK shop Saatchi & Saatchi scooped the lucrative Asda creative account.

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