Amaze CEO Natalie Gross departs as St Ives closer aligns digital agencies

Amaze chief executive Natalie Gross has left the St Ives-owned digital marketing business as it aims to closer align the agency alongside two of its other agencies, Realise and Branded3.

Gross, who joined Amaze in 1999, led its first acquisition by the Hasgrove Group in 2007, during which time she became managing partner. Four years later she became chief of the agency, which was then bought by St Ives Group for £24.3m.

Speaking to The Drum, Gross, who is also a judge at this year's Dadi Awards, explained her intention to take a short time out of the industry to work with BIMA before starting a new venture next year.

"I am incredibly proud of Amaze. The heritage of the company and what my management team and myself have achieved is pretty unique in the industry and I wish the team all the very best and I am really looking forward to continuing my work in the industry as well," Gross told The Drum while talking of her surprise decision.

A spokesperson for St Ives confirmed Gross's decision to step down and revealed that Realise chief executive, Tony Murphy will lead Amaze, Realise and Branded3 going forward. The Drum understands that the business is considering closely aligning the three agencies with the possibility of a merger also on the table.

In releasing its annual figures this morning (4 October), St Ives Group reported a seven per cent increase to £367.5m for the year. It's digital business represented 49 per cent of Strategic Marketing revenue at £71.2m, by comparison in 2015 it made £45.5m.