WPP digital shop Essence has named five new hires to its senior leadership team with Maxus US head Steve Williams and UK chief Nick Baughan joining the agency following the merger of Maxus and MEC.
Baughan who had previously been chief executive of Maxus UK, has been named chief executive of Essence EMEA, while Williams, will take up the role of Essence’s North American chief.
Joining Baughan and Williams will be Maxus chief strategy officer Damian Blackden, who will transfer into the same role at Essence. Simeon Duckworth, meanwhile, is to join from GroupM as global head of strategy and analytics from his post as head of data and analytics strategic development within the network.
Rob Reifenheiser, currently chief executive of the Americas at Essence, will take up the newly-created role of executive director.
Williams, Baughan and Blackden will join Reifenheiser in reporting directly into global chief Christian Juhl. Duckworth will report into Andrew Shebbeare, chief product officer, along with Garrick Schmitt, the new global director, experience design.
Juhl said: “For years, Essence has harnessed granular event-level data to deeply understand audiences, moments and outcomes to deliver world-class digital advertising.
“Our firm intent is to apply the very same techniques, combined with machine learning and new modelling approaches, to inform targeting decisions and measurement across all media channels.
“This requires us to bring on leaders with a broad range of skillsets and experience.”
He added: “We have felt incredibly well-supported by GroupM since joining their ranks a year and a half ago, and this new infusion of truly top-tier talent into Essence is yet another example of WPP’s ongoing commitment to our success.”
At the beginning of the month, WPP media buying arm GroupM merged two of its biggest media agencies MEC and Maxus, in a plan to use cost synergies to expand Essence.