Guardian News and Media, the U.K.-based newspaper that's pushing hard into the North American digital market, has hired Mindshare exec Rachel Israel to serve as executive VP of Guardian Labs U.S.
Guardian Labs is the company's in-house agency that creates branded content and other bespoke programs for advertisers. Labs rolled out last year in the U.K., where it has about 140 employees. Ms. Israel, who was executive director of strategic planning at media agency Mindshare, is charged with growing Guardian Labs in the U.S., where it currently employs about 15 people.
Part of Ms. Israel's job will be establishing relationships with advertising clients, according to Eamonn Store, CEO of Guardian North America. Prior to MindShare, she spent more than 15 years at MEC, another media agency. Both MEC and Mindshare are owned by the same holding company WPP.
"What Rachel is building will be judged over time," Mr. Store told Ad Age. "We're not trying to find a quick win, a quick new revenue stream, it's really about being out there talking to clients about enduring relationships. Those sort of things take time."
Mr. Store joined The Guardian last July from MEC, where he was president of agency development.
The Guardian, which introduced its U.S. homepage in 2011, has attracted a large digital audience in the U.S., with unique visitors across desktop and mobile devices reaching 25.3 million in December, a 40% increase over the previous year, according to ComScore.
Revenue from its U.S. website is up 300% year-over-year, according to a Guardian spokesman, who declined to provide specific sales figures.
In its 2014 fiscal year ended last March, the Guardian posted an operating loss despite revenue growth, particularly in digital, which comprises one-third of total sales. Last year, revenue at Guardian News and Media, which includes the Guardian and its digital assets as well as the Sunday Observer newspaper, was £210.2 million, a 7% increase over the previous year. Digital revenues grew 24%.