Dentsu Aegis names first president of product and innovation

Dentsu Aegis Network has appointed its first president and of product and innovation with Carat US chief executive Doug Ray handed the role.

The announcement:

Dentsu Aegis Network US today announced that Carat US CEO Doug Ray has been named its first President, Product and Innovation.

In this newly created role, Ray will drive Dentsu Aegis’s holistic product agenda, helping clients to access the breadth and depth of capabilities across the network and lead the development of integrated, tailored client solutions.

He will also have a particular focus on developing data and data-led products, including working closely with Merkle to leverage the full suite of data and people-based marketing capabilities on behalf of clients across the group.

Additionally, Michael Epstein has been promoted to CEO, Carat US. Most recently Carat’s President and Chief Client Officer, Epstein has been responsible for all US-based client leadership, and ensuring consistent delivery of best-in-class strategy and plans that drive tangible business results for clients.

Since joining the agency in 2013 as Chief Strategy Officer, Epstein has also played an active role in new business and helped propel the agency’s strong, double-digit growth.

Under Ray and Epstein’s leadership, in the last six years, Carat has more than doubled agency revenue, winning clients including Danone, Diageo, GM, Macy’s, Mondelez, P&G, The JM Smucker Company, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, and Darden’s LongHorn.

Carat has also garnered numerous awards in that time, including Adweek’s Agency of the Year, MediaPost Agency of the Year and Advertising Age’s Agency A-List.

“Our US business has doubled in size in the last 18 months through a combination of new business, organic growth and strategic M&A. At the same time, clients are increasingly looking to us to make a complex marketing ecosystem more simple, and for holistic product and thought leadership to help them get the most out of their data, assets, content, and partnerships.

“With new assets and expanded capabilities across the group, we now have an even greater opportunity to bring these to bear in service of even stronger and more sophisticated client solutions.

“Having Doug in a group role, focused on client solutions and leading product and innovation drawn from an even broader cross-section of our businesses, ensures we have the right strategic leadership in place to work with clients to manage the complexity and deliver truly leading-edge, integrated solutions,” said Rob Horler, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network US.

“Since joining Carat, Michael has continuously proven himself as a strong leader, gifted operator and trusted counselor to both clients and colleagues. As Carat continues its mission to redefine media, Michael’s track record of driving growth and delivering meaningful client business results make him the natural choice to lead Carat in its next phase,” said Horler.

Ray’s appointment follows a particularly active year for M&A for Dentsu Aegis, which capped 2016 with a record number of US-headquartered acquisitions, including Accordant, C2C Outdoor, Cardinal Path, Gravity and gyro, as well as Merkle, the group’s largest acquisition to date.

In October, Dentsu Aegis tapped Patrick Venetucci as its first President, Operations and Integration, responsible for leading operations and driving continued growth across Dentsu Aegis US, as well as stewarding the holistic integration of acquisitions as part of the group’s broader focus and commitment to driving collaboration across its operating model.

“Innovation is more critical today than ever before. It is the only path to transformational growth and this is why we’ve made it central to Carat’s and our clients’ business agendas. I’m energized by the opportunity to now leverage the unique assets of our entire network to create further competitive advantage for our clients and, in turn, for Dentsu Aegis Network,” said Ray.

“The role of media to drive change and transformation for businesses has never been greater than it is today.  With our investments and expertise in people-based planning and data-driven marketing communications, Carat is well-placed to help clients navigate today’s digital economy.

Having partnered with Doug to shape Carat’s proposition and redefine the value media can deliver for our clients, I’m excited for this next chapter for both Carat and Dentsu Aegis, and look forward to driving continued strong performance on behalf of our clients,” said Epstein.

Source: Dentsu Aegis Network press release


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