Darren Stein returns to OMG in Hearts & Science leadership restructure

Hearts & Science has appointed a new leadership team, with Darren Stein returning to the group as national managing director, and Luke Hutchinson promoted to chief operating officer. Stein will also resume the role of CEO of Annalect, following recent departures.

Jane Stanley, who was appointed last year as CEO will remain in her role, leading the agency across Melbourne and Sydney.

Hutchinson, Stanley and Stein: Hearts & Science’s leadership trio

Part of Omnicom Media Group, Hearts & Science was launched in 2016, arriving in Australia in 2019.

Stein was previously CEO of Annalect, part of OMG, leaving in 2021 for strategic advisory Forethought. He returns next month to head up strategy and innovation at the agency, as well as resuming the role at Annalect.

This comes after Mumbrella revealed on Tuesday that Stein’s replacement as CEO, Clement Tsang and COO Matt Nolan had left Annalect at the end of 2022. 

Stein said: “I am so happy to be returning to Omnicom, the best overall media operation in the region. By straddling Hearts & Science and Annalect we will ensure clients have access to industry-leading media optimisation and holistic measurement, and operate as close to the edge of technological capability as they are comfortable with – and the industry can achieve – at any point in time. Hearts & Science was built on the back of this promise, and I can’t wait to evolve its next iteration for the benefit of our clients and their customers.”

Now running the day-to-day of Hearts & Science, Hutchinson said: “I am excited about working with Jane and Darren to realise our ambitions for Hearts across 2023 and beyond. It’s been a fantastic journey since launching in ANZ in 2019, with our brilliant team delivering great work and outcomes for both existing and new clients. Now with the increased complexity in reaching and engaging consumers daily, we’re focused on continuing to build our team capability and operations to deliver new, creative, and effective solutions.”

Stanley was appointed as CEO for ANZ last year, following the departure of Jeremy Bolt. Managing director, Wendy Gower also left the agency at the back end of the year. 

The agency recently won the media account for Jaguar and Land Rover in a global move, after its client Audible moved across to Wavemaker last year. Currently its clients, and Forty Winks are out to pitch locally.

Stanley said: “After more than 25 years in data, tech, creative and media, delivering the Hearts & Science proposition is a real passion point for me.”

“That careful balance of designing meaningful and valuable connections to grow brands with the use of data and tech, is where the media world needs to be. It’s that equation of the Heart and the Science that will drive effective media solutions and we’ve been busy building a team across Australia to fulfil that purpose. I am looking forward to working once again with Darren with all his consultancy and product experience, and continuing to work with Luke, with his exemplary understanding of the Australian media market.”

Peter Horgan, OMG CEO ANZ, said: “Darren had an enormous impact across all our clients when he led OMG’s data & analytics offering at Annalect and we are delighted to have him working back with the team once again. By bringing that experience to Hearts & Science and creating a formidable trio with Jane and Luke to drive Hearts’ proposition in Australia, we will take the original and compelling Hearts & Science offering as a data-driven marketing agency from strength to strength.”


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