Wunderman Thompson top data role goes to WPP fellow

alex_steer2Wunderman Thompson is bolstering its data leadership team with the appointment of its first chief data officer for the EMEA region, handing the role to Wavemaker chief product officer and former WPP fellow Alex Steer.

The role, which was first advertised on LinkedIn three months ago, covers technical expertise and leadership, with Steer reporting to both Wunderman Thompson data global CEO Jacques van Niekerk and Europe and South Africa CEO Ewen Sturgeon, who joined in May last year.

Steer will take on a three-way brief: identifying and harnessing growth opportunities for data across the EMEA region; improving understanding and maturity of the data “capability”; and leading the “effective modification and implementation of data-led precision marketing tools” built across the region to align with GDPR and best practices.

He will also work closely with four key groups within the agency: the global data central team, the Europe and South Africa data team, the Europe and South Africa central team, and the market leadership teams.

Steer, who describes himself as “half strategist, half geek”, will then manage, build and strengthen integration between all of the Europe and South Africa offices, with a specific focus on data and technology.

Based at Greater London House in Mornington Crescent, the former Carreras Cigarette Factory, he will also work closely with strategy, creative, technologists, data strategists and scientists, and customer experience teams.

In total, the agency employs over 10,000 staff across the EMEA region.

Steer, whose first job was as an assistant editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, started his agency career on the  WPP Fellowship – a three-year global talent development programme – in 2009. This led to a four-year spell at Fabric Worldwide, before he joined Wavemaker (then Maxus) 2015.

Initially taking on the role of head of technology, data and effectiveness, he led a team of six analysts. Steer then developed and launched Maxus Pie, a “plug and play” personalised marketing technology service. He was promoted twice in 2017, first to chief strategy officer and then to chief product officer.

At the time, Wavemaker chief executive Nick Baughan said: “We are promoting an exceptional talent who is truly one of our industry’s brightest and best and who has helped shape Maxus over the last two years.”

Wunderman Thompson has yet to comment on Steer’s appointment.

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