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The Drum Digerati 2018 revealed: meet the most impressive individuals in UK agencies


By The Drum Reporters, Editorial team

October 9, 2018 | 19 min read

Throughout this week, we will be revealing who has made it into The Drum Digerati – our annual celebration of 100 outstanding individuals excelling in the UK digital industry. Make sure you don't miss out by signing up to our newsletter.


James Harris of Mindshare, Lindsay Pattison of WPP and Michael Olaye of Dare

The Drum's Digerati showcases success and ingenuity from some of the most pioneering digital marketers working in the UK today. Based on nominations from our readers and curated by our editorial team, the list celebrates talent from four categories: agencies, brands, adtech & martech and media & platforms.

Today we begin by profiling the 25 people who have made it into The Digerati from agencies.

Abbie Walsh, managing director, Fjord


Abbie Walsh is a service design pioneer, former journalist and DJ. At Fjord and Accenture, Walsh oversees Fjord's activities in the UK and Ireland, leading key clients through their digital transformation journeys and fulfilling a global and regional remit to mentor leaders. Within the last year, she and the Fjord London team have moved into a new studio together with Accenture Interactive. Designed in partnership with Studio Jenny Jones, the new space has been designed to enable creativity to thrive, bringing together different partners and clients to create exceptional experiences. This year, she served as a panellist for D&AD New Blood Academy, was a juror at the Cannes Lions on the first ever industry craft jury, and was also a juror for the D&AD Awards 2018.

Ajaz Ahmed, chief executive officer, AKQA

Ajaz Ahmed

Ajaz Ahmed is now in his 18th year as chief executive of AKQA, the innovation powerhouse he founded after dropping out of college aged 21. This summer marked the next step in Ahmed’s vision for the agency as it acquired a majority stake in architecture and interior design practice Universal Design Studio and industrial design consultancy Map Project Office to turn it into a new multidisciplinary design group. From its roots in London, AKQA has grown to today employ around 2,100 professionals in 23 studios across the USA, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Anatoly Roytman, head of Accenture Interactive EALA


As head of Europe, Africa and Latin America for Accenture Interactive, and the firm’s global commerce lead, Anatoly Roytman is on a mission to create the agency of the future. During Roytman’s time at Accenture, the company has been joined by businesses like Fjord, Karmarama and Rothco, helping to shape end-to-end capabilities and a more creative-led culture, as well pushing Accenture into new areas of content, media and creativity. The company won its first ever Cannes Lions this year, including a Grand Prix. Before joining Accenture Interactive, Roytman was vice-president of marketing strategy and analysis at Sapient.

Ete Davies, managing director, AnalogFolk


Appointed as managing director in 2016, Ete Davies has led AnalogFolk towards a period of unprecedented growth and creative excellence. Creative and commercial success has accompanied new business wins across Unilever, Pepsi, Nike, Nando's, BT, Danone and Scotch&Soda. Away from AnalogFolk, Davies is a leading protagonist in driving diversity, inclusion and equality across the creative industries, especially for the BAME community. He was one of the original co-founders of WeAreStripes, is the founder of CultureHeroes and sits on the advisory boards of several other diversity initiatives.

Fiona Proudler, chief executive officer, AmazeRealise


Fiona Proudler's career spans more than 25 years in the industry. In 2017, Proudler was appointed chief executive officer of fellow Kin + Carta stablemate Amaze and lead the successful integration of the two agencies to form AmazeRealise. Proudler oversaw the winning of critical new brands during the last 12 months including a highly prestigious project in the financial services sector calling upon the collective services of the Kin + Carta group. Under her stewardship, AmazeRealise has launched a bold new positioning and is breaking ground in the US. Proudler founded the Voice of the Client strategic platform to represent the complex experiences of modern clients within a rapidly evolving marketplace.

James Harris, global chief strategy officer, Mindshare

james harris

A true veteran with over 25 years in the advertising and media world, James Harris has been a pioneer of digital advertising from its earliest days. During his career has founded several highly successful media agencies, including the Media Business North, now part of the global media agency network Mediacom and Diffiniti now iProspect. He has recently joined Mindshare as its global chief strategy officer and prior to that he was chief digital and data officer for Carat, where as a member of the global executive team he helped drive the development of the network's digital capabilities and strategy and helping propel in Carat being ranked the number one agency by Recma – a spot it then held consistently.

James Hilton, global chief executive officer, M&C Saatchi Performance

James Hilton

James Hilton is founder and global chief executive officer of M&C Saatchi Performance. Dissatisfied with the lack of quality and marketing knowledge he encountered when looking for a mobile marketing supplier, Hilton made the decision to found his own company Inside Mobile in early 2006. In 2018 the agency repositioned as M&C Saatchi Performance and is now one of the largest global performance marketing agencies. In addition to winning The Drum DADI's 'Digital Agency of the Year' in 2016 and The MOMA's 'Most Effective Mobile Agency' consecutively in 2017 and 2018, Hilton was personally voted the number one influential individual in mobile by industry professionals in 2014 and listed as one of Europe's digital leaders in The Drum Digerati 2017.

Joy Bhattacharya, UK and Ireland managing director, Accenture Interactive

joy bhattacharya

Joy Bhattacharya leads Accenture Interactive in the UK and Ireland. Bhattacharya has always been interested in innovation and digital transformation, developing an expertise in each. Bhattacharya has made it his mission to create the best customer experiences and improve the way people work and live. Over the past 12 months Accenture Interactive has been laser focused on solving experience-led challenges for clients from Maserati to Radisson. Accenture also broke new ground in launching Programmatic Services for clients. Meanwhile, Bhattacharya oversaw the opening of two new integrated agency spaces in Dublin and London.

Liam Brennan, global director of innovation programmes, MediaCom

Liam Brennan

Liam Brennan is the global director of Innovation Programmes at MediaCom, where he is helping develop transformation agendas with some of MediaCom's largest clients through the use of data, technology and startups. The Blink team has helped MediaCom clients uncover new opportunities to deliver business and digital transformation – working on 40 briefs and projects showcasing over 200 technology companies and startups since its inception. Outside MediaCom, Brennan is lead mentor for The Wharton School's Entrepreneurship Capstone Programme, helping students with problem solving, financial and competitive analysis, building pitch decks and storytelling, and a mentor on the Google Launchpad programme - global acceleration program that helps start-ups build and scale.

Mel Edwards, chief executive officer EMEA, Wunderman​


Mel Edwards was appointed global chief executive of Wunderman in September 2018. A catalyst for business transformation, Edwards is recognized globally as a leader with a proven record of helping marketers anticipate and navigate change. Edwards has been recognized as one of the most influential people in digital marketing and advertising on many occasions. Prior to Wunderman, Edwards served as chief of M&C Saatchi's Lida.

Natalie Cummins, chief executive officer, Zenith UK

Natalie Cummins

In July 2018, Natalie Cummins was promoted to chief executive of Zenith UK after three years as its managing director. She achieved this on a four-day working week and as a lone parent of three children. Over the past year, Cummins – alongside the Zenith leadership team – has continued a two-year run of 100% client retention, maintaining excellent client relationships in the top quartile of the advertising industry. This past year has also seen a growth in client take up of Zenith’s unique data products, including Brand Contribution, which is a personal focus for Cummins.

Rob Pierre, chief executive officer, Jellyfish

rob pierre

Since launching Jellyfish in 2005, Rob Pierre has grown the agency to over 500 people working across Europe, the US, South Africa and Asia Pacific. In the last 12 months alone, Jellyfish has opened four new offices, including one in New York, taking the total number to 11. Agency accolades in the last 12 months include Agency of the Year for Digital Marketing at The Drum Network Awards and at the DADI's, a Drum Search Award for Experian and a top 30 ranking in the Sunday Times International Track 200. Pierre was also recognised as a regional finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 'Scale Up' category.

Karen Boswell, head of innovation, Adam & Eve/DDB

Karen Boswell

Karen Boswell leads initiatives across all of Adam & Eve/DDB's creative disciplines products and services, and all clients and agency partners. Having instigated a culture of positive disruption, Boswell help teams and clients alike look at things differently; constantly challenging the norm, lifting the bar and creating new rules. Over the last year, Boswell has incubated three consultancies that now operate as up-stream strategic services, including Data and Insight 2.0, Brand Experience and Brand Acceleration. Boswell also founded a tech startup in her spare time - passion project THEI.A, a bespoke neural network that powers real-time personalisation within virtual reality.

Debbie Vavangas, UK lead, IBM iX


Debbie Vavangas is an executive partner at IBM, where she leads digital strategy and iX for UK and Ireland, alongside being an executive partner for the Digital@BP and VWG accounts. iX is home to over 700 creatives and since stepping into the role six months ago the practice has grown considerably in signings and has unprecedented growth in team morale, size and revenue. Over the last year Vavangas has created a network of innovation hubs for BP that focus on creating experiences that exceed all expectations of the client and its customers. Vavangas has expanded this way of working with Audi VW Group. She's a proud sponsor and pioneer of 'LGBTQ' and 'Women in technology' IBM societies and is a mental health first aider.

Matt Candy, global lead, IBM IX

matt candy

Matt Candy is the global leader for IBM iX, a global professional services organisation that helps clients reinvent their business by design. Candy leads a global team of over 16,000 creators and makers across a studio network of 42 studios, who blend strategy, technology and creativity to tackle every client challenge. He is a frequent public speaker and blogger on the impact of design driving business reinvention, customer experience and digital transformation. In 2017, he was elected onto the Central Council of BIMA, to take up the role as the chair of the BIMA Technology Community and Council.

Nigel Vaz, chief executive officer EMEA and Apac, Publicis.Sapient

Nigel Vaz

Nigel Vaz serves as Publicis Groupe's global lead of digital business transformation and leads the Publicis.Sapient business across the EMEA and APAC regions. He held a variety of leadership positions with Sapient prior to its acquisition by Publicis Groupe and helped to build Sapient into one of the largest digital professional services companies in the UK from a startup in the space of a decade. He went on to lead the Sapient business in EMEA and APAC and its evolution to SapientNitro, as well as playing a key role in the successful integration of Razorfish to create SapientRazorfish within the Publicis.Sapient digital business transformation hub. In his current role, Vaz acts as strategic advisor on complex transformation initiatives for clients including Lloyds Banking Group, BNP Paribas, Carrefour, M&S and Unilever.

Nick Baughan, chief executive officer, Essence

Nick Baughan

Nick Baughan, chief executive officer of Essence, has been pivotal in helping his firm to define the modern agency model, encouraging brands take control of their media while simultaneously enhancing the agency's expertise across the digital spectrum and beyond. Over the past 12 months, Baughan has focused on strengthening his team, enabling Essence to bring best-in-class analytics, strategy and activation across all media and apply it to the world's leading brands. Under Baughan's leadership, Essence has grown 25% while enjoying a 100% retention rate for existing clients. Baughan has overseen teams that delivered world class work for Google across Pixel and Home, welcomed BT and delivered ground-breaking work for marketers who like to lean in.

David Levin, creative director, That Lot

david levin

David Levin has had a busy year. In July his social agency That Lot was acquired by Weber Shandwick, allowing the agency to supercharge its offering and ramp up growth. Levin has gone from intern to news writer, freelancer to drummer and from the writer/producer of Facebook entertainment channel to becoming a bespoke social media guru for brands, broadcasters and celebrities. Some of That Lot’s biggest client successes have come this year, as well. Channel 4 and E4 have taken pole position as the most viewed UK broadcasters on Facebook, while the agency helped Jamie Oliver launch a junk food campaign on Instagram which made news around the world. That Lot also produced the world’s first Snapchat spin-off drama. Levin’s got big plans for the future, from social-first, innovative masterplans at That Lot and methods to encourage change around racial discrimination in the industry itself.

Lindsay Pattison, chief client officer, WPP

Lindsay Pattison

Lindsay Pattison was last week promoted to chief client officer at WPP after a year serving as the first-ever global chief transformation officer for WPP and its GroupM network. In both these roles, Pattison led the strategy on how to adapt business models and services to better serve clients, and headed programmes focusing on talent and leadership. Previously Pattison was chief executive officer of Maxus Global, with responsibility for 3,000 staff across 55 markets. Pattison is a passionate advocate for business leaders taking meaningful action to improve gender equality. In 2016 she launched 'Walk the Talk', an initiative to help senior Maxus women to overcome the practical, cultural and psychological barriers to achieving their potential. WPP has now adopted this globally and by the end of 2018 nearly 1,500 women will have ‘Walked the Talk’.

Nick Farnhill, chief executive officer, PublicisLondon/Poke

nick farnhill

Nick Farnhill is a founding partner and chief executive of Poke and chief executive of Publicis London. His focus is on growing digital communications and experiences for Publicis UK clients that include EE, Huawei, Google, Ted Baker, Heineken, Morrisons, NBC and Garnier. In 2010, Farnhill launched The Lovie Awards to celebrate the wonderful and inspiring things connected by the web's many tentacles. He continues to co-chair the Awards. Farnhill is also an advisory board member of independent film streaming service Mubi and non-executive director for National Citizen Service. Partnering with Hackney Council and Hackney Community College, Farnhill co-founded and launched the Tech City Apprenticeship in 2013. The initiative was developed to specifically help young people meet the skills and employment needs of the growing technology cluster around the Shoreditch and Old Street area.

Steve King, chief executive officer, Publicis Media

Steve King

As chief executive officer of Publicis Media, Steve King oversees the media hub of Publicis Groupe, one of the largest communications networks in the world. He is responsible for its global agency brands, Starcom, Zenith, Digitas, Spark Foundry, Blue 449, Performics, and Publicis Media Precision, which manages programmatic for more than 125 clients globally. Earlier this year he launched Publicis Media's Commerce practice dedicated to aggregating and scaling Publicis Media's commerce expertise globally to span strategy and acceleration, media and investment, and content and merchandising, working alongside Publicis.Sapient and Publicis Communications to bring together technology, infrastructure, media and creative for an end-to-end commerce offering. In addition, King played a leading role in the creation of Publicis Spine, which fuses together Publicis Groupe's data assets, technology and talent to drive and link marketing and digital business transformation.

Mark Read, chief executive officer, WPP

Mark Read

Mark Read took on the most high-profile vacancy in agency land in September when he was named Sir Martin Sorrell’s successor as WPP chief executive. Read brings to the post immense digital pedigree having served for 12 years as head of strategy and then chief executive of WPP Digital, and over three years as global chief executive of digital agency network Wunderman, WPP’s largest business. A two-time winner of The Drum’s Digital Individual of the Year award, Read’s first major act as WPP chief executive was to fold creative agency Y&R into digital shop VML, perhaps a sign of things to come during his reign at the top of the world’s biggest marcomms company.

David Burgess, director, Deloitte Digital

david burgess

David Burgess started his career as a design consultant at Reading Room, progressing through the company to become UK chief executive of the business with a team of 110 and a turnover of £9.6m. Burgess sat on the Reading Room group board, which oversaw the international growth of the business and the sale of its UK operations to Idox for £5.6m. Burgess is now a director at Deloitte Digital where he leads teams focusing on large scale digital transformation projects in the public sector. He is focused on projects which deliver value through technical delivery, design thinking and organisational transformation.

Guy Wieynk, chief executive officer Western Europe, Publicis

Guy Publicis

As a member of the Publicis Groupe UK board, Guy Wieynk has led the transformation of Publicis Worldwide UK's 'micro network', consisting of Publicis London, Poke, Arc, August and Baker Street Productions. As part of his European remit, Wieynk has been focused on helping a wider transformation within Publicis Groupe, forging a collaborative approach between Publicis Communications, Publicis Media and Publicis Sapient called Publicis Inside. He also leads the Heineken business globally. Prior to joining Publicis, Wieynk spent 17 years at AKQA.

Michael Olaye, chief executive officer, Dare

michael olaye

Michael Olaye is the chief executive officer of Dare, a digital creative agency with hub offices in London, Bristol and Stockholm. Dare is part of marcomms company Inside Ideas Group. Olaye leads Inside Ideas Group's entire tech vision, responsible for its technical collaboration, industry thought leadership and advanced technology incubations. He's a regular guest speaker and judge, an advisor to tech startups. Olaye has also been honoured in the BIMA 100 and is one of Creativepool's top 100 influencers. Olaye assists at the School of Arts & Communications 2.0, working with up-and-coming industry talent and helps local communities in the London boroughs through the Future First Alumni programme, both as a supporter and guest speaker.

If you're interested in learning more about The Drum's Digerati, contact Toyin Rodwell via

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