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Critical Mass Taps Conor Brady, Chris Hayes and Expands in U.K.

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Critical Mass has hired Huge's Conor Brady as its creative chief and Chris Hayes as its chief marketing exec in a bid to boost new-business activity in New York. At the same time, the shop is merging its operations in London with Omnicom digital shop Agency Republic.

Christopher Hayes, left, and Conor Brady
Christopher Hayes, left, and Conor Brady

The addition of resources in New York and London is part of the Omnicom-backed shop's plan to move beyond its core strengths of user-experience and analytics and be more cross-discipline, said an agency spokeswoman, who denied that the expansion has anything to do with the merger between rival holding companies Publicis and Omnicom slated for completion later this year. She said the shop's goal in New York is to go from 15 employees to 50 by the end of the year.

Both Messrs. Brady and Hayes' roles are new, and they report to CEO Dianne Wilkins, who is based in Calgary, Canada, where the agency was founded.

Agency Republic's 20 executives will become part of Critical Mass' London operation, which will be led in the U.K. by Matt Kwiecinski and Alistair Campbell, managing director and exec creative director, respectively. Susanne Jones, former managing director of Critical Mass, London, will move into a new role as senior VP and global lead of Citi.

The move gives Omnicom slightly more control over Critical Mass, which earned over $100 million in revenue in 2013. The agency was founded in 1995 as a promotional CD-ROM developer and a year later entered web development, designing Mercedes-Benz USA's corporate site. Omnicom bought into the agency in 1999 and now owns more than 60% of the company. Founders own the remainder.

The London merger comes on the heels of Critical Mass' addition of a Latin America hub in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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