MSQ Partners agency Stack has poached two senior data executives from Merkle to expand its management team, following in the footsteps of chief data officer Mark King, who joined from Merkle in March.
Andy O’Brien (pictured, right) will join as head of data planning after four years at Merkle, most recently client partner; meanwhile Ian Skinner (pictured, left) will become head of data science, a role he has also held at Merkle since 2014.
Both will work across strategic clients and report to King (pictured, centre), who joined as part of the agency’s ongoing drive to deliver data-driven transformation at scale. He succeeded Caroline Kimber.
O’Brien’s experience spans major agencies including Rapp and DDB, where he was client service director. With specialist expertise in automotive, finance and retail, O’Brien has specialised in translating complex challenges into digestible, demonstrable strategies. His varied background traversing customer experience, technology, media and creative, plays into Stack’s channel-agnostic, customer-centric approach.
Skinner will be tasked with developing the agency’s data science capability, and will be working closely with agency leads and clients, generating insights which create what he calls “unfair advantages”.
Skinner brings a wealth of data, tech, consultative and delivery experience, and was the architect behind Renault’s award-winning connected data strategy. Prior to his role at Merkle, he was head of business intelligence at MRM Worldwide.
King said: “Following an extraordinary year of growth, we are reinforcing our analytical capabilities for today’s omnichannel, customer-centric world. Andy and Ian have worked with the most desirable customer experience brands around, and bring with them world-class expertise in customer-driven strategies and connected journeys. They’ve developed customer data platforms from scratch and advised media agencies on how to sharpen the prospecting powers of the DMP. Suffice to say, we cannot wait for the two of them to get started.”
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