Former CEO of IPG Mediabrands’ Ansible Scott Player takes on role at APD

The former CEO at IPG Mediabrands’ mobile and technology business Ansible – formerly Mnet – Scott Player has reappeared as CEO of ASX-listed digital services firm APD.

Player: Looking forward to working with an independent player

Player’s departure from IPG Mediabrands was announced just shy of two months ago, with hints he had taken on a senior role outside the group. 

Player joined the IPG Mediabrands group in 2012 when it acquired the creative agency he co-founded in 2009 with his sister Kristy, Airborne (formerly Creative Breeze), before he went on to head up Ansible.

Player has been in the new role for a few weeks and will endeavour to make the company – a “digital transformation business that delivers growth through exceptional customer experiences” – more well-known.

“APD, when I first was approached, I wasn’t really sure who APD were. So one of my big focusses is ‘Who is APD? What do we stand for? What are we known for in the market?’ And building not only an understanding or awareness of APD but an understanding from a client perspective of what we can provide and where our value lies,” Player told Mumbrella.

“Really [at] APD, we are positioning ourselves as a digital transformation business… My first 12 months are really defining who APD is, they’ve got a lot of history, they’ve been in this business for about 20 years and about four years ago they made a number of acquisitions that contributes into the APD of today. So the big focus for me is defining who we are and what our positioning is moving forward and then looking at how we can evolve into those different offerings into a more holistic view of the digital landscape.”

APD: Hoping to become more recognisable under Player

Despite stressing he had a fantastic time at IPG, Player said he is looking forward to working with an independent market player. Success in 12 months time, he said, would include APD being a more recognisable brand with “hopefully a few wins on the board”.

“I had a brilliant time over there at IPG but I was approached by APD with an opportunity that helped me sort of look at my career, where I would like to be in a few years time and it ticked all the boxes for me in terms of a next step.

“From a personal perspective I really love where I can influence people and culture, helping business problem solving and kind of blend all of that with some sort of focus on digital media and technology and APD gives me that opportunity,” he said.

“I’m super excited. It gives me a chance to work for an independent player and really gives clients an alternative to working with some of the bigger holding groups and some of the bigger consulting companies.”

His departure from IPG, he said, had nothing to do with any other internal movements, resignations or departures.

“I’ve had an awesome time over at Mediabrands. I’ve got a lot of both professional and personal relationships over there. I can only really talk on my personal situation in that it was time for me to move on and it just coincidentally came at a time that there may be a little bit more change at Mediabrands, but I had an awesome opportunity in front of me and that was it.”

Player said his key achievements at Airborne/Ansible were winning clients such as Lego, Bing Lee, Georg Jensen, and a lot of the work he did in collaboration with UM.

APD noted Player had a track record of growing profitable digital businesses, developing high-performing teams and solving clients’ business problems through creativity, technology and innovation.

Newton Smith, group chief executive officer, said the the announcement was part of a string of strong appointments for the company in recent months.

“We have been able to attract some phenomenal talent over the past 18 months,” he said, noting the company has also appointed Ines Almeida from SapientNitro into the newly created role of head of digital transformation.

“The addition of both Scott and Ines will strengthen our Australian leadership team, continue our evolution to a consultative-based digital business and further position APD as an independent leader in the Australian digital services market. I’m really excited to see the impact both Ines and Scott will have on APD in 2017 and beyond.”

Player replaces Stephen Smorgon, who departed APD in April. Player could not comment on Smorgon’s circumstances, but Mumbrella understands the former CEO maintains a positive relationship with APD and remains an investor in the business.


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