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The Drum Digerati 2019: the world's top 100 digital marketers (part 2)


By The Drum, Editorial

November 5, 2019 | 16 min read

The second set of global inductees to The Drum annual Digerati list – our celebration of the world’s top digital marketers – can now be revealed.

digerati part 2

The Digerati 2019: the world's top 100 digital marketers (part 2)

Spanning Silicon Valley to Singapore, the list includes considerable representation from natural digital hotbeds like agencies, new media publishers and social media platforms.

But symbolizing how digital has come to touch so many parts of our lives, you’ll also find top talent from the worlds of banking, retail, sports, food, and music among our cohort.

The list was compiled following reader nominations and curated by The Drum's editorial team. If you missed part one, catch up here. But now, let's meet Tuesday's inductees into The Drum Digerati 2019...

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, Instagram/Facebook

Following on from the sudden departure of Instagram co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, in September 2018 Adam Mosseri stepped in to lead the eight-year-old business. The 10-year Facebook veteran has introduced a number of sweeping changes since his appointment, including an experiment to start hiding ‘likes’ on the platform and introducing new measures to tackle bullying within its walls.

Prior to leading Instagram, Mosseri – a designer by trade – is credited with having built Facebook’s news feed. When Mosseri first took on the Instagram role, his “strong design background and a focus on craft and simplicity — as well as a deep understanding of the importance of community” was his guiding light.

Jeremi Gorman, chief business officer, Snap

Jeremi Gorman joined Snap from Amazon as chief business officer in late 2018. Having already helped the e-commerce giant grow its ad business from $4bn to $10bn between 2017 and 2019, the industry veteran was educating advertisers on Snap’s self-serve platforms, fostering better collaboration with the ‘big six’ ad agencies and focusing on emerging brands.

Since her arrival, Snap’s ad revenue has passed the billion-dollar mark for the first time and stabilized its user growth. Prior to Snap and Amazon, Gorman also held roles at Yahoo and Variety magazine.

Brian Lesser, chief executive officer, Xandr

Brian Lesser left his post as boss of GroupM North America in 2017 to help build AT&T’s yet-to-be-named advertising business. A year later, after AT&T acquired both Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) and AppNexus, we were introduced to Xandr, where Lesser is currently chief executive officer.

Born into advertising – his father ran Lowe Marschalk and Ogilvy New York in the 80s – Lesser has said that as a kid he always liked watching commercials more than programming on TV.

With degrees from both the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Business School, Lesser went on to chart his own path in advertising, making his first big splash in 2011 when he founded Xaxis, where he served as global chief executive for nearly five years.

Aline Santos, executive vice-president of global marketing, Unilever

Aline Santos has always been destined for big things. As a firm believer in advertising as a real agent of change and a force for good, she helped kickstart The Unstereotype Alliance with UN Women - trying to bring about some form of gender revolution in the industry.

Santos joined Unilever Brazil in 1989, as a marketing trainee. She was part of the Dove global team, and more recently lead the Omo brand and the successful ‘The Dirt is Good’ campaign. She is also responsible for the Unilever Foundry, a collaborative innovation platform which connects Unilever brands with startups.

Chris Tung, chief marketing officer, Alibaba

Chris Tung is well versed in both sides of the client/agency word. The marketer cut his teeth at brands like L’Oreal, Procter and Gamble, and Pepsico before jumping agency side to lead digital agency VML in China. He spent six years growing the agency before moving to Alibaba in 2016.

Since then, he has led the brand’s marketing as it builds its reputation outside of Asia as well as overseeing the martech division, Alimama, as president. All focus will be on Tung in the coming year as its long-heralded sponsorship of the Tokyo Olympics comes to fruition.

Josh Peters, director of data partnerships, BuzzFeed

A digital marketer for over 13 years, Josh Peters was among the first social media marketing authors and spent his career moving between agencies and consulting before landing at BuzzFeed. Over the last five years at BuzzFeed he’s managed the West Coast distribution team, built video product offerings and distribution methodologies, created BuzzFeed’s pre-roll product and, most recently, taken on the role of managing BuzzFeed’s data partnerships.

In his role Peters oversees everything from the tech involved to campaign audience strategy to privacy compliance and advertiser partnerships. When he’s not doing all of this he’s usually on the couch, with his dogs, writing about whiskey on his blog The Whiskey Jug, one of the top five whiskey sites in the world.

Jamie West, group director of advanced advertising, Sky

Jamie West, (who recently announced his departure at the end of the year) has been at Sky for more than 10 years, and been credited with leading Sky Media’s transformation to what is widely recognized as a leader in advanced advertising. The combination of Sky’s addressable product AdSmart, a full suite of analytics tools and a cross screen capability with Sky Advance has allowed Sky to change the way it trades and interacts with agencies and advertisers alike.

Prior to Sky, West worked at the likes of Channel 5 and Viacom.

Janae Redmond, vice-president, MoPub

Janae Redmond runs MoPub’s business within Twitter. She joined MoPub in 2012, prior to its acquisition by Twitter, and led the growth of the exchange team. Previously, Redmond led sales strategy for Google’s mobile publisher products as part of the AdMeld team.

Before moving into the advertising technology space, Redmond was in corporate sales at Time Inc, where she was responsible for agency and advertiser sales in both the northeast and Midwest of the US.

Redmond is an advocate for inclusivity in the workplace, including but not limited to gender inclusivity. She has previously stated that, in her view, a great strength of hers is “the skill to foster inclusion by making sure everyone’s voice is heard.”

Randall Rothenberg, president and chief executive officer, Interactive Advertising Bureau

Rothenberg has been the chief executive officer of the Interactive Advertising Bureau since 2007 and before that was chief marketing officer and senior director of intellectual capital at Booz Allen Hamilton.

He also spent six years at The New York Times where he was the technology and politics editor of its Sunday magazine, a daily advertising columnist and a media and marketing reporter. He is a published author, his books including Where the Suckers Moon: An Advertising Story.

Jeff Green, chief executive officer, The Trade Desk

Jeff Green co-founded what is now advertising’s largest independent demand-side platform, The Trade Desk, 10 years ago. As chief executive officer, he leads a global team of more than 1,200 employees, including a recently launched operation to bring its platform to China.

Green came on to the scene in 2007 when he sold his three-year-old company, AdECN, to Microsoft, where he would stay for another two years as chief operating officer of the company’s ad exchange. Green has said he went on to build The Trade Desk to “help fuel the broad diversity of media, voices and content on the open internet”.

Seng Yee Lau, senior executive vice-president and chairman of global branding and group marketing, Tencent

Lau has been leading the advertising business at Tencent for 13 years and is widely recognized as one of the most prominent digital leaders in China. Named Media Person of the Year at the 2015 Cannes Lions, his career to date includes a spell as chief executive officer and managing partner at Publicis and time at BBDO, Y&R and McCann.

Anna Rafferty, vice-president of digital consumer engagement, Lego Group

Rafferty has been in the digital industry for 20 years, starting off at Her career includes stints at The BBC Worldwide, Penguin and Pottermore and she has been a driving force for good in the digital industry. Rafferty sits on the board of The Women’s Prize for Fiction, is the chair for Culture24, a charity that brings arts and heritage organizations together, and a member of Global Future Council for the World Economic Forum. She joined Lego earlier this year from BBC, where she was the global digital director at BBC Studios.

Chris Padgett, vice-president of marketing and head of digital, Nestlé

Chris Padgett is Nestlé’s Vice President of marketing and head of digital and has spent six years at the business.

Initially joining to lead the Petcare division of Nestlé Purina, his role saw him establish and now lead the company’s digital center of excellent which aims to grow its marketing capabilities and deliver brand transformation.

In its most recent results for the third quarter of 2019, Nestlé which produces brands such as Nescafé, San Pellegrino and KitKat, outlined the expectation that organic sales would increase by 3.5%.

Lizzie Widhelm, senior vice-president of ad innovation and sales marketing, Pandora

Lizzie Widhelm has been with the music-streaming platform Pandora since 2006, where she initially headed up the company’s sales team on the West Coast following a stint at Vivendi Universal. While Pandora has had its issues over the years – edged out of the on-demand streaming market by Spotify – the company’s ad sales strategy and a pivot towards the premium radio and podcasting markets have paid off, and its takeover by satellite radio firm SiriusXM last year was hailed as a savior moment.

Aaron Cho, head of digital, IPG Mediabrands Hong Kong

Aaron Cho’s career in digital marketing and media stretches over 10 years, across Canada and the APAC region. Most recently, he has served as the digital lead at IPG Mediabrands in Hong Kong, overseeing the integration of specialized digital practices (search, programmatic, data and emerging tech) into media planning for a portfolio of brands in the travel, luxury and FMCG categories. He has helped Marriott and Singapore Airlines to become two of the first travel brands in the APAC region leveraging content and programmatic media at scale; was part of the development of a brand-safe, first-in-the-luxury-category private marketplace for Burberry; and assisted brands like Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola in redesigning their integrated marketing communications planning processes so that they are increasingly media and data-led.

Ellie Norman, director of marketing and communications, Formula 1

Ellie has spent 20 years in marketing, working across automotive and media entertainment industries at global, regional and local levels

In 2004 Ellie joined Honda Motor Europe as communications manager from agency-side, where her accolades include winning ‘Advertiser of the Decade’ at The Arrows in 2012.

In 2012 Norman also joined Virgin Media as head of advertising and sponsorship, leading brand campaigns and the strategy and implementation of sponsorship. This resulted in the most effective brand communications and creatively the first Gold Arrow for the Bolt 9.58 second ad.

Following the change in ownership at F1, Norman joined the management team as the companies first ever director of marketing and communications to lead the sport as it grows its fan base and attracts a new younger audience. This included a new identity for the sport after 24 years, as well as a focus on fan engagement.

Norman is a business leader member of The Marketing Society and has a passion for reformer pilates, Barry’s Bootcamp and classic Porsches.

Oliver Deane, director of commercial digital, Global

Ollie Deane joined media owner Global from Clear Channel in 2011 and was named director of commercial digital in January 2017. In this role, Deane is responsible for ad revenue, product and commercial operations for Global’s digital, mobile and social products across a portfolio of brands including Capital, Heart, Classic FM, LBC, Capital XTRA, Radio X, PopBuzz and Global Player.

He was instrumental in the launch of DAX, Global’s digital audio advertising platform enabling advertisers access to more than 130 million people worldwide, and has grown an initial team of four at launch to a 120-strong division spanning more than 120 people across the UK, US and Canada. The biggest platform of its kind in the UK, DAX has created a new revenue stream for Global and it has been adopted by other leading publishers such as SoundCloud, Endemol Shine, Sky and ITV in the UK, and Cumulus and Urban One in the US.

Jeff Weiser, chief marketing officer, Shopify

For the past two years Jeff Weiser has led the marketing operations at Shopify, a global platform that’s today used by over 1m businesses to run their e-commerce sites. In the period that Weiser has led marketing it has seen its share price soar by over 600% while its market capitalization now stands at over $40bn, almost $10bn more than Twitter. He’s credited with launching the 15-year old company’s first brand campaign. Prior to joining Shopify, the New York-based marketer served at Shutterstock and Beachbody, a fitness company where he held a number of strategic analysis roles.

Nikki Mendonca, president, Accenture Interactive Operations

Nikki Mendonca’s 2018 move to Accenture after 16 years within OMD was an unexpected move, as she became the latest to jump ship from an agency to join a management consultancy. She joined Accenture from OMD Worldwide where she served as president of the company’s EMEA region. In that role, she had overall responsibility for more than 6,500 marketing professionals serving leading global brands, including McDonald’s, PepsiCo, and Walt Disney. Her brief at AIO? Tasked with the growth of what she has described in the past to The Drum as “a global marketing activation network” which will be fueled by AI and machine-learning. Previously, she held management roles at Capital Radio and Leo Burnett.

Sean Lyons, global chief executive officer, R/GA

In 2018, after two stints at R/GA covering 11 years, Sean Lyons took on the role of global chief executive. He was to replace R/GA’s founder and chairman, Bob Greenberg, who held the post for more than 40 years. Greenberg personally appointed him as a successor.

He first joined R/GA as executive technical director in 2005, elevating to managing director, to senior vice-president operations and business planning. After that, he left to join Havas Worldwide as global chief digital officer and managing partner - a role he held for two and a half years.

He then returned to R/GA to take up the role of president, R/GA US. After four years in that role, he took on global chief executive.

The December issue of The Drum is devoted to the Digerati. Order your copy now and learn about the 100 people we’ve crowned the top digital marketing talent in the world, from Singapore to Silicon Valley, Procter & Gamble to Puma and Lazada to Lego.

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