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The Drum Digerati 2019: the world's top 100 digital marketers (part 3)


By The Drum, Editorial

November 6, 2019 | 16 min read

The third 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 3 (1)

The Drum Digerati: the world's top 100 digital marketers (part 3)

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. Catch up on part 1 here, and part 2 here. But now, let's meet Wednesday's inductees into The Drum Digerati 2019...

Rik van der Kooi, corporate vice-president, Microsoft Advertising

Rik van der Kooi has been with Microsoft for 20 years and is today in charge of building and scaling its global advertising business, defining its search and display product strategies and leading the company’s global marketing and sales efforts to meet the needs of its advertising clients.

He also serves as vice-chair of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and is executive sponsor of Blacks at Microsoft, a long-running employee initiative with a mission to achieve strong representation of black people at all levels of the company.

Weilin Li, head of global marketing, Baidu

Chinese internet giant Baidu has its eyes on global growth and Weilin Li is leading the charge. Li, who has worked at Baidu for more than seven years, has risen through the ranks, helping build Baidu’s mobile and PC services around the world. With a masters degree from Pierre and Marie Curie University, Li has spent time in Europe, including his role at Huawei where he was responsible for access network technical support of Belgium, Netherland and Luxembourg.

Ray Soto, emerging technology director, Gannett

As the director of emerging tech for the Gannett-owned USA Today Network, Ray Soto’s cross-disciplinary remit is to “revolutionize storytelling with emerging technologies”. Beyond creative direction, he defines strategic project goals and priorities to a team of artists, designers, and engineers. Soto has seen and led the network’s growth in VR and AR, playing a driving role in the planning and production of its eight AR experiences in 2019 alone. In recognition of such work, this year Gannett/USA Today Network was named among Fast Company’s most innovative companies for VR/AR.

Hamish Nicklin, chief revenue officer, The Guardian

As chief revenue officer of Guardian News and Media, Hamish Nicklin is responsible for driving operational and strategic direction across the group’s media, jobs and labs businesses. With responsibility for building long-term, sustainable business relationships directly with clients and agencies across the globe, Nicklin reports directly to David Pemsel, the chief exec, and is a member of the GNM executive committee. In 2019, The Guardian turned a profit for the first time in several years.

Nicklin was previously managing director at AOL , where he oversaw business strategy and operations across the company’s content brands and across programmatic and video platforms on both the demand and supply side of the market equation. In the UK this included AOL’s editorial brands The Huffington Post UK, TechCrunch and Engadget, as well as technology brands, AOP and Convertro.

Prior to AOL, Nicklin spent many years at Google UK, which he joined in 2006 and where he held various positions including industry head of financial services, head of public sector and government, head of creative agency partnerships and, latterly, director of agency sales. He has also held various marketing and business development roles at banks such as Lloyds TSB, Coutts & Co and Morgan Stanley.

Brian Whipple, chief executive officer, Accenture Interactive

Accenture Interactive saw arguably its highest profile acquisition in the advertising space when it bought New York-based and internationally renowned creative agency Droga5 in April – another feather in the cap of Whipple’s growing empire.

Whipple’s role at Accenture Interactive is to lead the development of experiences that grow Fortune 500 brands, driving disruption across the agency landscape through its service offering and pushing agency networks to adopt a more consultative approach along the way.

An industry changemaker more likely to allow the business and his team do the talking, he has however been more visible in 2019, taking on more media commitments and providing one of the major talking points at this year’s Cannes Lions when he took part in a debate with Sir Martin Sorrell at The Drum Arms pop-up pub.

Mike Scafidi, director of marketing technology and data strategy, PepsiCo

Mike Scafidi leads a team that focuses on the strategy and execution of technology and consumer data in order to drive data-informed marketing transformation and create more relevant connections between brands and consumers. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Mike led the global end-user technology practice for Razorfish. He developed digital strategies for over 40 corporations, in every vertical, and his presentation layer approach to digital development has revolutionized how digital agencies organize their teams to deliver dynamic and engaging digital experiences.

Simon Gresham Jones, chief digital officer and board director, Conde Nast

In his role, Simon Gresham Jones oversees digital strategy and growth efforts across the publisher’s vaunted portfolio of brands – including Vogue, GQ, Wired and Vanity Fair. His team is responsible for marketing, creative strategy, sales, data and digital product design. In the last year, Gresham Jones has led the publisher into new territory, helping it to set up its own ad agency and luxury brand consultancy.

Previously, Gresham Jones was global vice-president of digital marketing at fashion house Burberry, where he helped pull the brand out of its noughties doldrums and into the modern era as a digital luxury brand. A previous inductee to the Digerati, he’s advised organizations including Google and the British Fashion Council.

Meri Williams, chief technology officer, Monzo

Meri Williams joined Monzo, the British mobile bank, in 2018. The brand – widely regarded as one of the most disruptive in the fintech space – has since gone from strength the strength in its user growth, investment and product development.

Williams is a well-known figure in the tech sector, having previously held the chief technology officer role at print company Moo and the head of engineering job at Marks & Spencer. Outside of her day job, the self-proclaimed geek is also the host and co-curator of the international Lead Developer conference and a trustee for the LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall.

Dirk-Jan van Hameren, VP, chief marketing officer, Nike

The former athlete and current chief marketing officer at Nike Dirk-Jan van Hameren has held his role since 2018, his appointment coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the ‘Just Do It’ strapline.

The Dutchman, a former track cyclist, worked his way up the Nike pecking order from 1992, starting out as a comms specialist, before taking increasingly senior roles across digital commerce and then brand management in Europe. As general manager of Nike Sportswear, he was credited with driving the success of the Air Max, Air Force 1 and Tech Fleece brands. Now under his auspices, Nike’s marketing department continues to produce some of the world’s most celebrated digital and traditional advertising, including the Women’s World Cup campaign that dominated social media this summer.

Linda Yaccarino, chairman, advertising sales and client partnerships, NCBUniversal

Behind any show, on any screen, there’s an entire economic infrastructure at work. And no person has had a bigger hand in shaping it than Linda Yaccarino. As chairman of advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, Yaccarino is responsible for managing over $10bn in revenue annually and stewarding the company’s industry-leading portfolio of linear networks, digital platforms, distribution partnerships and client relationships. Yaccarino, with the help of her 1,500-person team, connects established and emerging brands to hundreds of millions of viewers – driving economic impact for not just her company, but entire industries.

Nick Drake, executive vice-president and chief innovator, T-Mobile

Until recently, Nick Drake served in the somewhat cryptic role of "founder and chief innovator of a confidential new initiative…” within T-Mobile. He was moved into the clandestine position earlier this year after having spent five years in top digital and marketing roles at the company. Prior to that he spent much of his career in sports retail, including 18 months at Quicksilver and six years at Adidas, broken up by a short stint agency-side at TBWA\Chiat\LA. However, Drake recently announced his departure from T-Mobile and the top-secret gig to take up an equally ambiguous "senior marketing" position at Google. Stay tuned for what this marketer does next.

Matt Derella, global vice-president, customers, Twitter

Matt Derella is responsible for leading Twitter’s partnerships with marketers and agencies worldwide. Derella oversees a team of regional business leaders as well as Twitter’s global teams focused on partnerships, agencies and brand strategy. Prior to Twitter, Derella was a director at Google, where he managed advertising partnerships with large agencies and clients and helped lead YouTube’s entry into the premium content space. He has also served as vice-president at The Weather Channel companies.

Alysia Borsa, chief marketing and data officer, Meredith Corporation

In her role, Alysia Borsa leads corporate marketing strategy, integrated marketing communications, first-party data strategy and management, and consumer and advertiser-focused insights and analytics across all of Meredith’s 40+ national media channels. Borsa has driven successful business development and marketing initiatives for various companies, including Nokia, Comcast and Accenture. Borsa holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Business degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. She resides in Manhattan with her family and is based in Meredith’s New York City offices.

Matt Candy, general manager and global leader, IBM iX

Matt Candy joined IBM from PwC in 2002 when the computing giant acquired PwC’s consultancy business and absorbed it into its business services arm, and he has been there ever since. In this time, he has helped transform clients across all industries, around the world. In 2013 he was enlisted as vice-president of the company’s internal digital agency, IBM Interactive Experience (or IBM iX), which – backed by its considerable computing power – blends strategy, technology and creativity to tackle every type of client challenge. In February 2018 he was promoted to general manager and global leader for IBM iX and now leads a team of over 16,000 strategists, industry experts, researchers, designers, developers, engineers, artists, storytellers, data scientists and facilitators across 42 studios.

Audrey Kuah, executive director of media APAC, Dentsu Aegis

At Dentsu Aegis, Audrey Kuah is building a media and performance practice fit for marketing in the digital economy. This role was a recent promotion for Kuah, who previously spent three years leading the agency’s group’s global R&D, AI and Cloud Technology initiatives of its Global Data Innovation Centre. Boasting an impressive career that spans almost 27 years of working across creative and media agencies, client organisations and her own start-up, Kuah also sits on the boards of a number of prestigious organisations, including the Singapore Tourism Board, IAB SEA+India and IPOS International as three organisations.

Bret Taylor, president and chief product officer, Salesforce

Boasting a number of stints in top tech companies, Bret Taylor is an American computer programmer by trade. His career defining moment was the co-creation of Google Maps and the Google Maps API.

He left Google in 2007 to join Benchmark Capital as an entrepreneur-in-residence, after which, he and other former-Google employees, created FriendFeed. He was chief executive until Facebook acquired the company for an estimated $50m in 2009.

Following the acquisition, Taylor was chief technology officer at Facebook, until he left to start up his own company, Quip. This was a collaborative productivity software suite for mobile and the Web, which was bought by Salesforce in 2016. Following that, he was made president and chief product officer at Salesforce.

Richa Goswami, global head of digital, Johnson & Johnson

The newly promoted head of digital at Johnson & Johnson, Richa Goswami, has had a rich career with both finance and consumer healthcare brands.

Goswami has spent the last five years at Johnson & Johnson. She originally joined the company in Singapore as Asia Pacific head of digital for consumer healthcare businesses. In June this year, she was promoted to global head of digital to lead digital transformation for the consumer business globally.

Prior to joining the FMCG brand, Goswami worked in the financial sector. She spent nearly four years at Standard Chartered Bank, after 10 years at HSBC.

Guru Gowrappan, chief executive officer, Verizon Media

Guru Gowrappan heads up one of the largest media companies on the web, overseeing brands such as TechCrunch, Yahoo, Aol and Huffpost. Gowrappan took over the top job following the departure of Tim Armstrong last year; he made waves within his first week when he changed the company’s name from Oath to Verizon Media, and promptly launched an extensive review of the entire business. Tasked with turning the Verizon ship around in stormy seas, Gowrappan has said he plans to diversify the formerly ad-focused business’s revenue strategy, introducing subscription models and e-commerce. Prior to his time at Verizon, Gowrappan was global managing director of Alibaba.

Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer, Procter & Gamble

Marc Pritchard has held the chief brand officer role at P&G – one of the world’s biggest advertisers – since 2014. He joined the company in 1982 as a cost analyst, working his way up from what was then called the “paper division” to oversee multi-billion-dollar media, marketing and advertising strategies of all conglomerate’s global brands.

Known for his grace, charisma and impeccable closet of suits, Pritchard has not been afraid to speak pointedly and publicly on the need for the industry to improve: be that with regards to diversity, transparency and media wastage. In 2019 the Advertising Club of New York awarded him ‘Industry Legend’ status.

Cheryl Goh, group vice-president of marketing at Grab

As the founding member of the Grab marketing team, Cheryl Goh has taken it from a challenger brand to one that swallowed the South East Asia business of its rival Uber. Grab now has over 36 million users who take millions of rides every day. The taxi app now has ambitions to become a ‘super app’ and Goh’s remit has grown to lead marketing in over 300 cities across eight countries, overseeing a team of over 500 marketers throughout Southeast Asia. Prior to Grab, Goh worked across digital transformation, marketing and founder roles in businesses including Nissan, Friendster and Socialwalk.

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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