More execs on the move; Mark Richardson’s new gig and AKQA’s Ajaz Ahmed

News involving CEOs at EssenceMediacom and Host/Havas leads the news this week, though for one agency, its path forward is less clear than for the other. The team chats about the prospects for each before founder and global CEO of AKQA, Ajaz Ahmed joins the podcast to discuss AI, solving problems for a software giant aged 15, and why he's not hot on the metaverse.

A week on from its launch, GroupM’s EssenceMedicom has a new CEO in Pippa Berlocher. After a few weeks of industry chatter about Pat Crowley’s role, he is moving away from the top job into a more client-leading role as managing partner. Crowley had been appointed CEO in 2021, and oversaw the bringing together of the two agencies, alongside Aimee Buchanan. Now, he’s looking to prioritise his happiness, and his strengths, leaving behind the operational role for one “on the tools”, servicing clients.

Laura Aldington stepped down as CEO of Host/Havas this week too, but in this case, there was no replacement lined up. The team asks what is next for Havas, with a vastly different, and unclear leadership heading into the rest of 2023.

Mark Richardson’s next move was in the news too, joining Marley Spoon as its new chief marketing and commercial officer. Can we expect a similar output from his new marketing team to the one that he was so highly awarded with at Aldi?

Ajaz Ahmed, CEO of founder of AKQA then joins the podcast to discuss the opportunity artificial intelligence presents, and why the agency is embedding it in “everything” it does. Over the rest of the conversation, Ahmed also chats about why some clients and agencies “bandwagon” on the latest technological advancement such as the “meta-worse” (as he likes to call it), working for one of the top software companies in the world at age 15, and about the role still excites him almost 30 years on.

Episode breakdown

  • New EssenceMediacom CEO (1:08)
  • Laura Aldington departs Host/Havas (5:53)
  • Mark Richardson joins Marley Spoon (10:10)
  • Interview with Ajaz Ahmed (14:13)

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