Merkle boss relinquishes global role to right-hand man

dempsterMerkle boss David Williams is handing over his day job of global chief executive to his trusted lieutenant, Craig Dempster, after 32 years with the business.

But he is not getting the lot; Williams will remain chairman of Merkle, while retaining his role as CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network’s global CRM group and chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas.

Dempster (pictured), who admits he has “big shoes to fill”, joined Merkle in 2006 following a ten-year stint in sales at Experian. Since then, he has held a number of senior roles but has always been a part of Merkle’s executive leadership team.

Under Williams’s mentorship, and as a direct report for more than ten years, Dempster has played an integral role in driving the company’s growth and profitability in the Americas, which represents 80% of Merkle’s annual revenue globally. Dempster has also spearheaded the company’s expansion in the Americas and Europe by championing more than a dozen acquisitions.

As global CEO of Merkle, Dempster will oversee the entire organisation of more than 9,600 employees in 13 countries, including its most recent acquisitions, Media Storm, Digital Pi, and 4Cite. He will also take on responsibility for leading Dentsu Aegis Network brands within the CRM division, notably 360i, Gyro, and Cardinal Path.

Williams said: “Craig has been a crucial leader in the success we’ve seen with Merkle over the past 14 years, and I’m confident in his ability to lead our employees and clients through this time of disruption and into the future.

“I cannot think of a person more qualified and deserving of the position. Merkle has amplified its presence across the industry, becoming a leader in innovation, and Craig will continue to meet and surpass our business goals as we set our sights on becoming a multi-billion-dollar global leader in data-driven, tech-enabled, people-based customer experiences.”

Williams joined Merkle in 1988 when it was primarily a data processing company. Under his leadership the business expanded into CRM and data analytics and has grown from $2.5m (£2m) in revenue to more than $1bn (£810m) revenue annually. Williams also oversaw the company’s sale to Dentsu in 2016 and its integration over the past four years.

Dempster said: “[David] is a visionary leader who has dedicated 32 years of his life to this industry and to making Merkle the great company it is today. His are big shoes to fill, and I am immensely grateful for his mentorship, his friendship, and the trust he has placed in me. I look forward to working with the strong, seasoned group of executive leaders that we have assembled and with the entire Merkle team, serving as a valued partner to our clients.”

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