Ashley Earnshaw departs DAN as it rolls Vizeum into iProspect

The Dentsu Aegis Network’s (DAN) Vizeum will merge into iProspect, in a move described by the holding group as a ‘further simplification of its media business’.

Ashley Earnshaw has resigned his role as CEO of Vizeum, only a year after taking up the role. Oliver Rapson, the managing director of iProspect, has been named CEO in an expanded role to integrate the Vizeum leadership team.

Earnshaw leaves after five years at DAN

It is another added responsibility for Rapson, who took control of performance marketing agency Merkle in January following the departure of Australia and New Zealand managing director Rebecca Tos.

Rapson’s new role in merging Vizeum and iProspect will result in “providing the right balance of client centricity and craft excellence”.

“Our teams will be helping clients leverage a full end-to-end experience to create robust, through-the-line strategies underpinned by digital DNA. This is an exciting step forward for our business and clients, meanwhile providing more opportunities for our people,” he said.

Rapson’s role as head of iProspect will be expanded

Rapson has been with iProspect since 2014 when he joined as general manager.

The move comes from DAN’s new CEO Angela Tangas, who stepped into the role in November last year when Henry Tajer was ousted by the regional team after just a year as chief executive.

The merger of Vizeum and iProspect continues the holding group’s restructure kicked off by Tajer, following the loss of the $40m Mondelēz International account, $20m Amart accountSuper Retail GroupVirgin AustraliaAsahi, and Bega (which moved to Thinkerbell after a 10-year relationship with Carat).

The first change was a round of senior executive redundancies, including iProspect’s managing director, Nick Seckold, president of Amplifi, Adrian Roeling, DAN’s head of public affairs and communications, Andrew Hewett.

Sue Squillace started as the CEO of media agency Carat in September last year, leading the major account wins of  L’Oreal and the $50m Medibank and AHM business. Squillace’s appointment also triggered the departure of Carat’s MD Simon Williams.

In August last year, head of government solutions Nick Swifte’s and ANZ managing director of Amnet Indy Khabra’s roles were made redundant. Swifte had been with the business for 22 years.

That month, Erik Hallander was appointed CEO of Isobar, and soon after the agency was merged with With Collective. The latter’s CEO and COO, Justin Hind and Dominique Hind respectively, exited the company.

Following the release of Dentsu’s quarter three of FY2019 results, President and CEO of Dentsu Inc Toshihiro Yamamoto also announced that a new group management structure will be effective from January 2020, aiming to become a “pure holding company”.

Tangas said the most recent merger is taking place to “fast-track the evolution of our business”

“To better anticipate the changing consumer landscape and to ensure we provide clients with increased tangible value, we need to transform and fast-track the evolution of our business. COVID has only accelerated this further and set a new benchmark for partnership value,” she said.

“With deeper digital integration, underpinned by radical collaboration, agility and faster decision making, our focus is on making it easier for our clients to access the best of Dentsu.”

Tangas is looking to accelerate the evolution of DAN

Meanwhile, Earshaw’s departure comes after five years with the holding group. He started out at DAN as head of investment at Carat. After a year he became the chief investment officer of Carat and, later, Amplifi.

Tangas said: “After five years of service with Dentsu, Ashley has made the decision to pursue further opportunities. Ash has been a valuable contributor to the group over that period and we wish him all the best for what comes next.”

In July, Tangas launched Dentsu Commerce, a specialised team offering total ecommerce solutions to clients.


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