Exclusive: IPG's Huge Global CEO Pete Stein departs for Dentsu's Merkle
Huge Global CEO Pete Stein is departing, after only taking his seat at the helm of the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency last year, to join Merkle, Dentsu Aegis Network's data-driven customer experience management company.
He will be global lead for experience and commerce, a new role for Merkle. The company said Stein will be responsible for "developing, growing and leading" its global experience and commerce capabilities and teams, playing "an important role in delivering superior CXM services and integrated solutions" to clients. He will report directly to Merkle CEO Craig Dempster and starts in October.
“Customer experience has become the foundation for businesses,” Stein said in a statement. “It is the guiding principle that paves the way for many strategic decisions and sets industry leaders apart.”
He was not available for further comment. An internal email sent to employees from Stein and Huge Chief Financial and Operating Officer Raj Singhal confirms his departure. The email also stated that Singhal will assume Stein's "day-to-day responsibilities" in the interim.
"Huge has a relentless ability to embrace change," the email said. "While today’s news is sad, Pete’s decision comes at a time of momentum and institutional strength. In particular, we are proud to say that the leadership team, at both the global and office levels, continues to strengthen."
The memo continued: "Because of you and your dedication to making things people love, we have the support and expertise to continue to successfully execute on our promise of delivering unified brand experiences that resonate with our clients ... We have strong roots and we should all be excited for the future. We wish Pete the best and please join us in thanking him for his contributions to Huge."
Stein joined Huge in May 2019 as global CEO to replace Michael Koziol, who only held the top role for a year before that. At the time, Huge said Koziol would be leaving to focus on private equity ventures in retail, e-commerce and media and entertainment. Stein led a team of 1,200 people across 13 offices while at Huge.
“Pete embodies the key qualities we envisioned for this role, including a strong and experienced leader with strategic vision and deep operational ability,” Merkle's Dempster added in a statement. “We are excited to have Pete on our team, building out this key part of our business.”
Before Huge, Stein was general manager of Fullscreen, a digital video company that manages a network of creators' channels across social platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat. He is credited with doubling the size of that business, increasing shareholder value and ultimately leading Fullscreen to be acquired by AT&T in 2018.
He also spent nearly a dozen years at Publicis Groupe digital agency Razorfish (now part of Publicis Sapient), where he served as global CEO from July 2013 to December 2014. He left Razorfish at the start of Publicis' massive restructuring that began with its digital agency properties and led to the formation of its "Power of One" model.
At Razorfish, Stein is credited with expanding the agency's digital offerings by creating new capabilities in e-commerce, social, mobile and programmatic media.