Joe Media hires AOL’s Gavin Johnson as MD as it reshuffles senior team

Zoe Elmore, Russell Oakley, Niall McGarry, Gavin Johnson, Hayley Bourne, Stuart Staves and James Wigley

Joe Media has appointed Gavin Johnson, the former UK commercial director at AOL, as its managing director as part of a wider expansion and restructure of its commercial team, ahead of its further push into production.

Johnson will be responsible for the overall management and operation of the sales, planning, client services, audience development and content teams. He will report directly into founder Niall McGarry.

McGarry, the owner of parent company Maximum Media, has "taken on a much more active role in the UK business" in recent months, which led to chief executive Will Hayward moving into a chief strategy officer role in June, the publisher revealed.

Johnson announced he was leaving AOL in July in the midst of its merger with Yahoo into new company Oath.

He joined the business when AOL acquired Millennial Media in October 2015 and in February 2016 was promoted to lead the combined UK operation across AOL's brands such as HuffPost and Engadget, the Microsoft portfolio, the content division Partner Studios and the One by AOL programmatic stack.

His hire comes as part of Joe’s continued expansion in the UK. Originally an Irish brand, it launched in the UK in 2015 and its headcount has grown from 15 to nearly 50 in the last year. In the next six to 12 months, the business hopes to double its headcount across the UK.

Stuart Staves joins from Amobee, where he was director of business development, as senior brand partnership director.

Russell Oakley joins from agency Rapport, where he was brand engagement director, as partnerships director for the north, where he will drive the business’ growing commercial footprint out of its Manchester office.

Zoe Elmore joins from Turner as associate director of programmatic partnerships.

Internally, director James Wigley has moved into the role of general manager, and Hayley Bourne has been promoted to senior brand partnerships director.

The hires come ahead of the publisher’s expansion of its production capabilities as it readies a new four-studio production suite, including a podcast studio.

It is launching three podcasts this month, including a weekly hour-long interview series called ‘Unfiltered’, hosted by presenter and journalist James O’Brien.

Speaking on his appointment to Joe, Johnson said: “Engaging with the young, male demographic is ever more challenging for advertisers and Joe is building a reputation for reaching this audience at scale with clever, original, meaningful content. I’m incredibly excited about the investment Joe is making, not only in its talent but also its production infrastructure to provide increasingly compelling brand partnership opportunities.”

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