Stagwell Group, the 4-year-old holding company founded by Mark Penn, is building out a central marketing team to take its data-driven offering to market in a more cohesive manner.
The Washington, D.C.-based company has made several hires for the team and promoted its chief operating officer Beth Lester Sidhu, who joined the company when it was founded, to the additional role of chief marketing officer.
Stagwell Group has brought on Anas Ghazi, who most recently served as growth officer at WPP’s Kantar, for the role of managing director and chief strategy officer. Alexis Williams, who spent nearly eight years at Politico in various roles before joining Stagwell Group, is serving as executive vice president of marketing and sales.
Merrill Raman, chief information officer at Harris Poll (which is owned by Stagwell Group), has taken on the additional role of managing director of enterprise data at the holding company. Stagwell Group has also appointed Regan Considine, who previously served director of strategic partnerships at the National Journal, as senior director.
According to Stagwell Group, which made headlines last year when it invested $100 million into MDC Partners, the marketing unit will be tasked with bringing the holding company’s “continuum of marketing services to life” by selling brands on its collaborative model that involves various agencies working together.
Considering Stagwell Group has several agencies in its portfolio—including digital and creative agency Code and Theory, full-service agency Observatory and performance marketing firm ForwardPMX—the company wants to create dedicated agency units for clients that bring together different specialties across its roster depending on their needs.
It’s a model that Penn said has already worked, as MDC Partners-owned Doner partnered with Code and Theory to win Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health business in the U.S. last year. It’s also an approach that other holding companies, including Publicis and Omnicom, have tried in recent years for clients such as the U.S. Army and Smucker’s, although Stagwell Group claims its model is different because it was “born and bred in the digital era” and therefore isn’t bogged down by legacy assets.
“We didn’t just build a collection of agencies, we built a company that could meet the full needs of a brand,” Penn said. “Now it’s time to build the team who can meld all the pieces that we’ve gathered and bring them to market.”
In a press release, Stagwell Group said it has raised more than a half a billion dollars since it was founded, and that an “initially modest marketing investment” led to tenfold returns last year, which spurred the formation of a marketing group.
“Our clients want connected marketing solutions, and we believe new brands will, too,” Sidhu said. “If you’re building a solution for today’s marketers, you aren’t going to build one that looks like 1970 or even 2010–you’re going to build one that works in 2020 and beyond.”