Sid Lee names new global leader
Montreal-based Sid Lee promoted longtime executive Vito Piazza as its new global CEO. He replaces Bertrand Cesvet, who has held that position for the past four years and now transitions to executive chairman. Piazza has been with Sid Lee for the past 20 years, most recently as group president. In that position, he oversaw business operations across the network’s offices in Montreal, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Toronto and Seattle. Piazza is credited with helping establish Sid Lee’s Toronto presence.
“I am very pleased to be handing over the reins to such an outstanding leader,” comments Cesvet. “He is one of the very few visionaries to truly combine two proven qualities that drive businesses: creativity and strategy.”
Consolidation extends past holding companies
In addition to its global CEO news, Sid Lee, part of the kyu collective, also announced that it would be acquiring L.A.-based social agency Denizen, adding to a rising merge-and-purge trend in the industry. But while consolidation has been widely reported as a growing trend within holding companies, it’s affecting independents as well, with an increasing number of smaller shops merging to bolster their capabilities during the pandemic.
Most recently, CourtAvenue, a digital transformation agency launched less than a year ago, bought San Diego-based social media shop Modifly, founded by CEO Elijah Schneider in 2015 when he was a freshman at California State University. Modifly works with both large and small brands, with a focus on direct-to-consumer, including Mercedes, Nordstrom, Fancy.com, The One Club for Creativity and Original Grain, among others. CourtAvenue CEO Michael Stitch says the acquisition “will provide a promotional content engine that offers huge value for clients and compliments our core services of relationship experiences.” Modifly will retain its brand and Schneider remains CEO.
Music strategy shop Premier Music Group, launched by Josh Deutsch and Terence Lam in 2017, meanwhile, purchased Search Party, a music supervision firm founded by Randall Poster in 2004. The deal consolidates the two companies under the Premier brand, creating a creative firm for music strategy and supervision that works to bridge the gap between music artists and brands for advertising purposes. It works with clients like T-Mobile, Amazon, Google and ESPN, while partnering with ad agencies such as R/GA, McKinney, Wunderman Thompson and McCann. Poster, best known for his music supervision on Wes Anderson films like "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Grand Budapest Hotel," comments: “Combining our businesses will allow us to reinforce our shared commitment to bringing the best music and musicians forward and broaden our reach to better serve the brands and agencies who are looking to use music actively and authentically.”
Here’s a few other recent examples: Dublin-based tech services company Keywords Studios bought Hollywood creative shop Gnet; Minneapolis-based commerce agency The Stable acquired Arkansas-based e-commerce shop RichContext, with the purchased company being folded into its buyer; and Amsterdam-based digital agency Dept acquired San Diego-based digital branding and experience shop Basic.
The Integer Group, part of Omnicom, appointed Gail Obaseki as director of diversity, equity and inclusion. She will oversee DE&I efforts across all of the commerce agency’s offices in Bentonville, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Los Angeles and New York. Obaseki hails most recently from TracyLocke, where she led diversity and inclusion as well as employee onboarding, production services, project management, creative resourcing, field marketing management and studio services.
The Miroma Group, a collective of creative and marketing agencies, recently poached two senior IPG leaders to join its network. IPG’s Rapport Worldwide President-CEO Mike Cooper has stepped down to become global managing director of out-of-home operations for Miroma, while IPG Mediabrands International Managing Director of Commercial Operations Craig Lennon departs to become Miroma’s first chief commercial officer. Cooper, who had led Rapport in the U.S. before becoming global CEO and president in 2015, says he’s “been a fan” of Miroma and its “truly entrepreneurial spirit.”
Mesh appointed Justin Archer as its first chief creative officer. In the new role, he will oversee the creative team from his base in Atlanta. Archer comes to the Baton Rouge-based shop from Publicis’ Zenith, where he was executive VP of marketing. While in that role, Archer led all U.S. marketing across Zenith as well as its subsidiaries Moxie and MRY.
Collins elevated Taamrat Amaize to head of strategy. Amaize joined Collins in January as a strategy director, with the brand experience and design shop saying her promotion follows her work on the brand refresh of Robinhood, a commission-free trading platform. Before Collins, Amaize held stints at Interbrand and Wolff Olins. She also serves as co-founder and creative strategy director for Skill Committee, a collective of brand and business consultants.