Merkle is overhauling its leadership team by promoting chief growth officer Margaret Wagner to spearhead the agency’s operation across the EMEA region, succeeding Michael Komasinski, who is moving back to the US to lead the Americas’ division after three years in Europe.
Wagner’s elevation sees her take on the dual role of president of Merkle EMEA and leader of the regional Dentsu customer experience marketing (CXM) agencies.
Her appointment will also be seen as another victory for the agency-land “sisterhood”, which has finally started to make inroads in what has long been a male dominated industry, and includes the likes of WPP’s global boss Mel Cruickshank, Publicis Groupe UK chief Annette King and WPP UK country manager Karen Blackett.
Wagner started her career at Brann Worldwide in 1995 as a management supervisor, then switched to Euro RSCG Worldwide as director of integrated marketing. In 2002, she joined Wunderman, eventually becoming senior vice-president and director of client services before launching her own business, Bedroom Matters, an online and offline experiential retail store focused on creating more luxurious and intimate bedrooms.
After nearly four years, Wagner returned to Wunderman as managing partner, then spent two years as chief marketing officer at Rapp UK.
She joined Merkle in 2015 as senior vice-president and was promoted to chief growth officer in EMEA in 2017. During this time, Wagner has been working closely with Komasinski, with a strong focus on building client relationships.
She has also expanded Merkle’s sales, marketing, and alliance platforms across the region, which have contributed to more than $65m in revenue since 2018.
Wagner said: “I am excited about the opportunity before me to lead Merkle EMEA, and to continue as part of a company that is reimagining the customer experience and what it means to provide value in an increasingly digital world.
“The future is one where data and relationships will play a central role, and I am eager to help Merkle realise opportunities as consumers and brands evolve.”
Wagner will also sit on the Merkle/CXM global executive committee and on the regional executive team of Giulio Malegori, CEO of Dentsu EMEA.
Meanwhile, Komasinski is taking up the dual role of president of Merkle and leader of Dentsu’s CXM division in the Americas.
Merkle says that over the past three years, Komasinski has helped drive the agency’s culture into the European workplace and built a high-performing business that expanded significantly through organic growth, acquisitions, and the recent realignment of Dentsu brands.
He has overseen growth from 550 employees and $80m in annual revenue to more than 3,500 employees and $400m in annual revenue. Prior to this role, Komasinski ran Merkle’s US digital agency business, and also had spells as CEO at Razorfish and president at Schawk Retail Marketing, SGK.
Both chiefs will report directly to Merkle global chief executive Craig Dempster, who commented: “I am thrilled to announce these promotions, which signal continued growth for Merkle into 2021 and beyond. Michael and Margaret have exemplified strong leadership for our company, overseeing tremendous expansion within the EMEA region. I have no doubt that they will continue to lead their respective regions with this same drive and innovation.”
The appointments will take effect on January 1 2021.
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