Merkle picks Vodafone chief to lead Pega partnership

Simon Esland MerkleMerkle has appointed Vodafone’s group head of marketing technology strategy to a new role leading the agency’s partnership with software firm Pegasystems, having successfully implemented a major Pega platform at the mobile phone giant.

Simon Esland will support Merkle’s expansion across all 14 markets in EMEA in the new role of vice-president and practice lead of marketing decisioning, which covers two software platforms, Pega Marketing and Pega Customer Decision Hub.

Merkle has worked with Pegasystems since 2005, implementing the technology across multiple sectors, brands, channels and offers. Esland will be responsible for managing and building these relationships and will report directly to Ben Gott, SVP, practice lead, marketing solutions EMEA.

Esland started his career at Sony as a graduate trainee, eventually becoming marketing communications manager before joining Vodafone for the first time in 2003 as commercial manager.

In 2007, he joined Newcastle United FC as head of customer operations, responsible for the P&L management of the ticketing, membership and digital product portfolios, but returned to Vodafone in 2012.

In a nine-year spell, Esland was ultimately responsible for defining and executing Vodafone’s global marketing technology strategy and spearheaded one of the largest worldwide Pega Customer Decision Hub implementations at the company.

Gott said: “I have no doubt that with Simon’s knowledge, ability and leadership, he will make a great success of his new role, deploying the most experienced Pega team in the UK across EMEA, and putting transformational work at the heart of our customer experience marketing (CXM) business.”

Esland added: “Clients’ expectations are always evolving, and increasingly they are looking to work with trusted partners, who can support them and provide value from technology and data platforms.

“Merkle is in a unique situation to embed decisioning alongside their industry leading CXM practice for a powerful approach, especially when you also factor in their media and creative capabilities and EMEA reach. This practice area has so much potential for Merkle and to deliver exceptional results to clients.”

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