Technology The Drum Digerati

The Drum Digerati 2018: UK digital's best brand marketers revealed


By The Drum Reporters, Editorial team

October 12, 2018 | 20 min read

Throughout this week, we have been revealing who has made it into The Drum Digerati – our annual celebration of 100 outstanding individuals excelling in the UK digital industry. Today we reveal the final 25 names who complete our list – the marketers transforming their brands into digital powerhouses.

brands trio

Nina Bibby of O2, L'Oréal's Nick Buckley and's Alessandra Di Lorenzo

The Drum's Digerati showcases success and ingenuity from some of the most respected 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.

Here is the 2018 cohort from brands:

Jerry Daykin, head of digital media partnerships, Diageo​​


Working within Diageo's centre of digital excellence, Jerry Daykin leads the relationship Diageo has with key global media owners. Internal partnership successes have included the Smirnoff and Spotify 'Equalising Music' campaign, and Diageo's wider marketing reframe. At Dmexco last year he took the stage alongside Facebook's Carolyn Everson, while at Cannes this year he represented brand marketers on a senior panel. He's chairing the Warc media awards and The Drum Social Purpose Awards, as well as judging the Campaign Tech Awards and Social Buzz Awards. Previously he's led digital teams globally at Carat, and social media for Mondelez across Europe.

Nuria Tarré, chief marketing officer, City Football Group


Nuria Tarré joined Manchester City owner City Football Group as chief marketing officer in November 2015. Over the past 12 months, a strong part of her focus has been on Manchester City’s fan growth, with City being the fastest growing football club in social media during that period. The club has also enjoyed innovative tie-ups with the likes of Amazon Prime and dating brand Tinder. As well as launching a new kids app, the club continued the evolution of its membership platform, Cityzens, and celebrated its record-breaking 2017/18 season with a global trophy tour. Tarré joined City Football Group after 19 years in the telecommunications, aviation, tourism and leisure, and strategic consulting industries.

Nick Buckley, chief digital officer, L'Oreal​

nick buckley

Nick Buckley is chief digital officer at L'Oréal UK and Ireland. Buckley is responsible for the digital transformation of the company and ensuring the organisation becomes the most innovative brand in the beauty market. Buckley has previously held senior roles at Sony, Marks & Spencer, and EE.

Adam Boita, head of marketing, Pernod Ricard

adam boita

Adam Boita started his marketing career at PlayStation EMEA and UK, launching PlayStation 3, PSP and PlayStation Network. He later joined Pernod Ricard UK to work on lifestyle spirits including Malibu, Havana Club, Beefeater, Plymouth, Monkey 47, Tequila, Jameson and Absolut. In terms of digital transformation, he was responsible for PRUK's first digital hire and initiated its digital strategy roadmap. Most recently he's been focused on transparent data driven media efficiency models with Havas and launched Jameson's first TV ad in seven years across the Sky Media portfolio, including its data-driven products Sky Advance and Sky AdSmart, in addition to YouTube and Teads network buys.

Lara Izlan, director, advertising and data solutions, Auto Trader

lara izlan

Lara Izlan's extensive experience in digital media includes brands like AOL, Disney, Telegraph, and Auto Trader. In her current role, Izlan is leading the development of advertising and data products, with a team of programmatic, media buying, ad technology, and data science specialists. This year, Izlan's team of analysts received an award for 'Best Use of Data' for an innovative project using first party demand data to challenge long-standing conventions in the automotive industry. This platform is now regularly used by car brands and agencies, forming the basis for better media planning and performance measurement. Izlan is a regular speaker and panelist at advertising technology and digital marketing events. She is an advocate for women and diverse groups in the industry. Izlan is also a volunteer mentor with Bloom UK, an organisation supporting young women in the media and communications industry.

Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer, London

theo blackwell

As London's first chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell plays a leading role in realising the mayor's ambition to make London the world's smartest city. Appointed in September 2017, Blackwell developed the Smarter London Together Roadmap of 20 initiatives to improve digital public services through a new emphasis on service design, data, enhanced connectivity, leadership & skills and proposing a new collaborative institution to work with the most innovative councils to scale the best ideas. Blackwell works in the open – progress is measured through an online report card – and he has championed new ways of directly engaging the public, including the 'Your Commute' tool which uses TfL data on passenger journeys to spark discussion around the use of citizen data for civic benefit.

Alessandra Di Lorenzo, chief commercial officer, media and partnerships,


Alessandra Di Lorenzo is chief commercial officer of media and partnerships at, and heads the group’s media business, Travel People. In over a decade in digital marketing, Di Lorenzo has previously held roles at eBay Advertising and Vodafone, with a focus on mobile and data-driven commercial and product development. Passionate about all things tech, Di Lorenzo is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Youth for Technology. Since Travel People's launch in 2016, Di Lorenzo has worked with her team to build out a fully-fledged publisher monetisation capability within group. Di Lorenzo’s team has since evolved into an in-house marketing solutions agency, offering and all its partners a modern marketing approach that spans from engagement through to content, social and advanced performance campaigns, all powered by data.

Mark Bullingham, group commercial director, FA

Mark Bullingham

Mark Bullingham oversees all digital departments at the Football Association, including the development of new consumer products and all digital content. It's been a bumper year for Bullingham and his team, in no small part thanks to the England team captivating the nation at the World Cup. Sentiment throughout was positive and the growth in subscriber base during the campaign was huge with 1.2m new fans across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The FA has also had a landmark year in the creation of new digital products, including an app designed to help any amateur player organise their football lives. 'Matchday' automatically tells players their fixture details and allows them to input their availability. Another digital product was created to run events for the FA, giving participants and organisers a better experience and building digital engagement. This project allowed the event organisers to run the FA People's Cup and create 27,000 new data records from players around the country.

Ellie Norman, director of marketing and communications, Formula 1

Ellie Norman

Ellie Norman was named Formula 1's first director of marketing in August 2017 as part of its push to transform itself from a motorsport into a global entertainment brand. She has played an integral role in this process, leading campaigns with digital at their core. Last year, F1’s brand was recognised as the fastest growing in sports on social media with followers up 54.9% across all owned platforms year-on-year. As well as overhauling the F1 brand itself with a new logo reveal, Norman also launched F1 TV, its first ever OTT platform. Prior to F1, she spent five years at Virgin Media where, in 2014, her role as head of advertising was expanded to include leading strategy and implementation of sponsorship across the business.

Rikesh Shah, head of commercial innovation, TfL​

rikesh shah

Rikesh Shah is accountable for Transport for London's (TfL) engagement with market innovators including startups, small and medium-sized enterprises, academics, R&D institutes, accelerators, venture capitalists and large corporates. During 2018, several challenges to help harness innovation are taking place, including the Mayor's Civic Innovation Challenge. Previously, Rikesh was responsible for TfL's world leading open data strategy and set up a digital and data partnerships function. TfL's free Unified API provides a wide range of real-time data. As a result of this open data policy, there are nearly 700 apps used by 42 per cent of Londoners with over 14,000 registered users, mainly developers. Shah also is a member of the Smart London Board which is charged helping the Mayor shape his vision and strategy for London's smart city agenda.

Adrian Cutler, global agency, Microsoft Search Advertising

adrian cutler

Experienced marketer Adrian Cutler counts his greatest achievement of the last 12 months as leading the winning project – 'WhyCry' – in Microsoft’s OneWeek UK 2018 Hackathon. For Cutler, 'WhyCry' was more than a passion project; it was borne out of an intense personal experience, when his daughter, Jessica, was taken seriously ill just after turning one. After many hospital visits, it transpired that Jessica’s heart had swollen to the point of pressing on – and suppressing – the nerve that controls her vocal cord. She would cry at night, but not be heard by the baby monitor. Jessica’s distress was only visible through her facial expressions. This problem formed the crux of Cutler’s hackathon concept – if only there was a way to recognise a child’s cry without relying on sound. Using visual emotional detection, based on all the resources within Microsoft, 'WhyCry' sends an alert whenever it detects a child is in real distress. The reaction to 'WhyCry' was so positive the team had developed a working prototype by the end of day one.

Nina Bibby, chief marketing officer, O2

nina bibby

Nina Bibby is the chief marketing officer at O2 (Telefonica UK), with commercial profit and loss accountability for the consumer and SMB mobile business. She also has responsibility for brand, marketing communications, customer experience, data and analytics, products and sustainability. The past 12 months have seen Bibby lead her team to deliver new and disruptive propositions and continue to drive market leading brand consideration and customer churn levels. Bibby has been challenging traditional ways of working, creating an agency planning hub and agile ways of working within the marketing function. She continues to promote O2's work in the online safety space, through her involvement in the Royal Foundation's Cyber Bullying Taskforce and the company's ongoing partnership with the NSPCC. Bibby is also a non-executive director of Barratt Developments, a trustee of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, sits on the council of the Marketing Group of Great Britain and is a fellow of the Marketing Society.

Aman Matharu, beverages digital lead, PepsiCo

aman matharu

Aman Matharu leads the beverages digital marketing strategy for PepsiCo's western Europe region in addition to Pepsi's global football campaigns. With over 15 years of experience across automotive, consumer electronics and FMCG, Matharu has been central to the success of its global brands by helping make sense of media and content in a digital world while ensuring digital channels work as part of the media mix, delivering real scale, impact and measurable results. Within the last 12 months, Matharu has set a digital strategy for beverage brands. As part of Pepsi Max's 'Taste Challenge' campaign, he piloted an ‘intelligent mass marketing’ approach, creating a hyper-personalised digital campaign which talked to the target audience in a more relevant way than ever before. Matharu also participates in acceleration sessions with partners such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in order to drive a faster digital transformation within the business.

Matt Barwell, chief marketing officer, Britvic

Matt Barwell

Matt Barwell is a key member of Britvic’s executive committee responsible for all aspects of the soft drinks company’s global brand strategy and execution, innovation, corporate affairs and sustainability agenda. Over the past 12 months, Barwell has continued to drive forward Britvic's purpose of making everyday moments more enjoyable, overseeing a portfolio of more than 30 brands globally. That includes household names including Robinsons, Purdey's and Fruit Shoot, to super premium adult brands from incubator WiseHead Productions, as well as PepsiCo brands such as Pepsi MAX, 7UP and Mountain Dew which Britvic produces and sells in GB and Ireland under exclusive agreements. Barwell is a fellow of the Marketing Society, a council member of the Marketing Group of Great Britain, and an active member of The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Effectiveness Group and The Ehrenberg Bass Institute.

Alexandra Willis, head of communications, content and digital, The AELTC Championships

alexandra willis

Alexandra Willis is head of digital, communications and content for the All English Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – better known as one of the best loved brands in sport, Wimbledon. Willis has built on the brand’s reputation by introducing groundbreaking artificial and augmented intelligence technology to The Championships in 2018. AI was used to create the official Wimbledon poster and underpinned a Facebook Messenger chatbot for player alerts, scores and relevant content updates. There were also AI-based auto-generated highlights for use across Wimbledon's digital and social media platforms and for distribution to broadcasters. These innovations yielded a 31% increase in technology media coverage for Wimbledon, and a 10% increase in engagement and viewing consumption across digital. A former journalist, Willis has led Wimbledon's digital strategy since 2012, developing Wimbledon's presence in the industry from scratch to a multi-award-winning portfolio of platforms which service a fanbase of 30 million across digital and social media.

Ali Parsa, founder, Babylon Health


Dr Ali Parsa is a British-Iranian healthcare entrepreneur and engineer as well as founder and chief executive of the pioneering artificial intelligence and digital health company, Babylon, whose mission is to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on earth. Parsa was recently named by The Times among its 100 global people to watch; made the Health Service Journal's list of the 100 most influential people in UK healthcare; and was featured in the Maserati 100 list showcasing great British entrepreneurs who are challenging the established players.

Nick Beighton, chief executive officer, Asos

nick beighton

Nick Beighton is a chartered accountant, who qualified at KPMG and has been chief executive of Asos since 2015. He joined the fashion retailer as chief financial officer in 2009 and took the expanded role of chief operating officer in 2014. Before Asos, Beighton was head of finance at Matalan in 1999, later moving into the role of business change and IT director. He joined the Matalan retail board in 2003. In 2005, he joined the board of Luminar Entertainment Group as finance director, and became a member of the EU e-Commerce Task Force and the Future Fifty programme advisory panel.

Kate Slater, director of digital engagement, Unilever

Kate Slater

As Unilever’s director of digital engagement, Kate Slater oversees projects that land in more than 100 countries. She led a full reimagining and redesign of Unilever's 48 corporate websites which completed its launch in 2017. This year, she oversaw the creation of Unilever's mould-breaking 'Take Action' hub – a new way to engage young millennials in what Unilever's brands and partners are doing around sustainability. It inspires the social entrepreneurs of the future to get involved with projects around the UN's sustainable development goals and has won industry-wide praise. Slater, who started her career in TV in 2000, today describes herself as 'being on a mission to make corporate digital activity as bold, powerful and brave as the most exciting brands do. In a sector that's constantly evolving, we're always looking for better ways to tell a vivid story'.

Ben Carter, UK marketing director, Just Eat

ben carter

Ben Carter is UK marketing director of Just Eat. Carter’s strategy to make the brand famous includes Just Eat’s award-winning sponsorship of The X Factor. Locally he’s reinforced the Just Eat brand presence by ensuring the brand is displayed across 29,000 Restaurant Partners as well as tactical sponsorships, such as the newly launched Edinburgh Cycle scheme – all intended to ensure Just Eat is in every town and city in the UK. Carter’s team has focused on encouraging customers to order more often, growing Just Eat’s app order share over the last 18 months. With a more dynamic market and more demanding consumers than ever, Carter’s focus is on not only on making sure the Just Eat brand is well known but that it becomes the go-to food app.

Sarah Holt, digital marketing director, Lego

Sarah Holt

Sarah Holt is global marketing director, brand and digital, at Lego Group where she has been tailoring the toy brand's communications towards millennial parents since taking up the reins in 2017. She joined from BBC Worldwide where she was vice president, franchise marketing and digital planning. Highlights from the BBC include a ground-breaking partnership with Twitter, the global launch of new Top Gear, and an April Fool stunt named by BuzzFeed as one of the best April Fools on the internet. She has been described as a "relentless innovator" with an "unbelievable knack for making the impossible happen”.

Doug Gurr, country manager UK, Amazon

doug gurr

Doug Gurr has led Amazon's business in the UK since 2016. He joined the web giant in 2011 and was China Country Manager from 2014 to 2016. Prior to Amazon, he was a senior executive and board member at Walmart’s UK operations, Asda Stores, after founding an internet startup and working as a partner at McKinsey & Co.

Nathan Ansell, marketing director, M&S

Nathan Ansell

Nathan Ansell was appointed marketing director of the M&S clothing and home business in January 2018, where he has the task of revitalising and growing the M&S brand globally. Previous roles at M&S include director of customer loyalty (responsible for all loyalty, CRM, customer insight, analytics and data science) and head of brand and marketing for M&S Food where he led a team to deliver 36 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth under the successful 'Adventures in...' integrated campaign, which received many accolades. Ansell has previously held a number of FMCG marketing roles growing brands such as Heinz, Birds Eye and Red Bull.

Corinne Suchy, global digital director, Topshop and Topman

corinne suchy

Corinne Suchy was appointed global digital director for Topshop in July 2016. She currently oversees a team of 80 and sits on the Topshop board. Suchy is responsible for developing direct-to-consumer business through delivering exceptional customer experiences across all of the brand’s digital properties, including digital marketing and social media; CRM and customer analytics; usability engineering and interaction design; front-end development; photography and editorial; merchandising; and omni-channel operations. Her team’s work has been acknowledged by L2, a business intelligence agency, as an industry leader in both the United States and United Kingdom. Prior to joining Topshop, Corinne was executive director of global e-commerce at Urban Outfitters, based in Philadelphia, USA, and vice-president and editor – online, at Indigo Books & Music based in Toronto, Canada.

Emily Somers, vice-president marketing, McDonald's

Emily Somers

Emily Somers joined the McDonald’s UK leadership team in September 2015 as vice-president of marketing and food development. Before that she has had a long-standing working relationship with the company having worked for over a decade at its creative agency Leo Burnett London. During her time at the agency, Somers led the McDonald’s account as the brand experienced a resurgence in trust and awareness, contributing to the company’s current ongoing and prolonged growth in the UK.

Jon Davies, head of digital, Vodafone

Jon Davies

Jon Davies heads up digital for Vodafone in the UK and is responsible for digital experiences across both its consumer and enterprise channels. He’s been central to Vodafone’s digital transformation and is currently establishing a new digital hub in London as a centre of innovation and creative technology. Davies joined Vodafone in early 2015, prior to which he held senior digital transformation roles at Adobe, Orange and Eurostar.

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

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