Former Kantar Euro chief joins MSQ’s expansion drive

Bart MichelsAgency group MSQ is continuing its seemingly relentless pursuit of growth by recruiting former Kantar European CEO of consulting Bart Michels to help the group’s clients get closer to their customers and unite technology, insight and marketing in more effective ways.

Joining as executive director, Michels will take on a board role at MSQ, supporting the development and delivery of the group’s growth strategy as it continues to expand its capabilities in the UK and internationally.

He will also become executive chairman of Freemavens, MSQ’s insights and analytics consultancy, and will work with the agency’s leadership team to help shape its evolution and drive effective connection into the wider MSQ proposition.

Michels will also work closely with MSQ’s other executive directors Kate Howe and Ben Rudman, as well as with chief executive Peter Reid and chairman Charles Courtier.

He started his marketing career client-side, working in marketing and brand strategy at companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Kellogg’s and Coca-Cola. In 2000, Michels became group brand and communications director of Virgin Media before joining WPP’s Kantar group in 2003 as managing director of Added Value, the network’s marketing strategy and insights consulting business.

Over the ensuing 17 years, Michels moved up the ranks to become UK country manager and then European CEO of Kantar’s combined consulting division.

He left the business in February this year and since then has taken on a number of business advisory roles.

Michels said: “Marketers and insight leaders are looking for more connected ways to get faster, and more creative insights, ideas and in-market impact. The way MSQ is set up and the firepower it brings has the potential to provide clients with another, more effective way.

“The group has invested significantly in its global tech and data capabilities but also has the talent, creative intelligence and agility to join it all together in a way that can make a big difference for clients.

“In Freemavens, MSQ also has a best-in-class insights business at the heart of its capabilities. The agency is a diverse group of brilliant thinkers who understand exactly how to uncover revelations using analytics and data from the world of search and social and beyond, and turn them into competitive advantage for clients. It’s easy to see why they’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and I’m looking forward to working with the team to help them scale further still.”

Peter Reid added: “Today’s fast-paced world requires brands to use sharper insight to deliver more impactful customer experiences. As a joined-up, global marketing group we believe we can lead the way in this space, and bringing in someone with Bart’s experience and skillset will enable us to do just that. He knows how to get the very best out of a marketing group and its agencies, and more importantly he knows what it takes to help brands and businesses grow. I’m thrilled to have him on board.”

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