Craig Cooper departs Spark Foundry to rejoin Carat as chief investment officer

Spark Foundry’s national investment and partnership director, Craig Cooper, has departed Publicis Groupe after almost eight years to take up the chief investment office role at Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat.

It’s a return to Carat for Cooper, who was a business manager at the agency for seven years, from 2003 to 2010.

Cooper rejoins Carat, and former colleague Sue Squillace. Source: LinkedIn

Cooper started his career at UM in 1998, and moving to OMD in 2001. From there, he had his stint at Carat, before spending a year at Mitchell & Partners in 2010 and landing at Starcom. Joining as an account director, before working his way up to investment director, Cooper spent five years at the Publicis firm, switching to sister agency Spark Foundry in 2017.

Cooper’s return to Carat also marks a reunion with CEO Sue Squillace, with the pair working together at Carat between 2003 and 2007, and then at Publicis.

Squillace, who was appointed to the CEO role in June and began in September, also joined from Spark Foundry, and was a key hire as part of then-CEO Henry Tajer’s holding group-wide restructure.

That restructure impacted executives and agencies across Dentsu, but media agency Carat was particularly turbulent, making many hires to replace the loss of key executives including its CEO, CMO, head of strategy, and head of digital.

The agency’s client roster has also suffered over the past 18 months, losing the $40m Mondelēz International account, $20m Amart accountBega (ending a 10-year partnership), Virgin AustraliaDavid Jones and the $19.4m Disney account.

It has attempted to counteract those key account losses by winning United AirlinesBeacon Lighting, Event Hospitality and Entertainment, Grill’d, and Hisense, and retaining the $50m Medibank account.

Tajer’s restructure came to an abrupt and unexpected end in November when he was ousted from the CEO role, along with his CFO Reg Davidson. New CEO Angela Tangas is yet to demonstrate whether her predecessor’s restructuring of Dentsu will be continued, wound back, or another approach favoured.

Carat has been contacted for comment regarding Cooper’s appointment.

Mumbrella understands that Cooper’s role at Spark Foundry will not be replaced, with head of investment Lucie Jansen taking on sole responsibility for the remit.


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