Tiktok boosts local team with three senior hires from Google, Initiative and Quantcast

Coinciding with the departure of chief executive Kevin Mayer after less than three months in the role, Tiktok has made three senior hires in its Sydney team.

Andrew Cambridge joins as head of agency, Hollie Lowe as head of customer solutions, and Elisa Kelsall as head of commercial partnerships. Together, they promise to lead a full service offering for advertising partners.

General manager of global business solutions across Australia and New Zealand, Brett Armstrong, said the appointments are a key milestone for the Australian office.

L-R Hollie Lowe, Brett Armstrong, Elisa Kelsall, and Andrew Cambridge

“Since we opened our doors earlier this year, TikTok has gone from strength to strength in this market,” Armstrong said.

“We’ve grown the business at a phenomenal pace, thanks to partnerships with many of the country’s leading brands. With the expertise, industry know-how and passion our new leadership team will bring, I’m excited to deliver even more impactful results, and excellence in service for our clients and agencies.”

Two months ago, the short form video platform opened a local office led by former Google executives. Two weeks ago, it appointed Claire Robinson as director of communications, and last week named Triple J’s Ollie Wards as its first local director of music.

But the social media company’s establishment in this market lined up with increasing scrutiny over users’ privacy, leading to US President Donald Trump threatening to ban the site. And its quickly been met with competition – Instagram launched competitor Reels at the start of the month.

The political pushback has led to Microsoft and Walmart vying to take over its operations in the US, and possibly Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and the business to mount a PR offensive in July. Tiktok has maintained it’s ‘fun’, ‘safe’, and ‘independent’ and begged in a full page newspaper ad last month to not be used as a “political football”.

Head of agency Cambridge steps into the role from media agency Initiative, where he led digital, data and technology. He started his career at MySpace, and will work closely with creative and media agencies throughout the region.

“We’re in an era where creativity and speed pays off for marketers and TikTok provides a perfect canvas to flex this creative spirit,” he said.

“The promise this platform shows for brands to once again evolve their marketing strategies in line with the pace of technological change is incredibly exciting.”

Local GM Armstrong

Kelsall, who becomes head of commercial partnerships and previously spent nine years at Google, added: “Being part of something as exciting as the juggernaut that is TikTok and joining a team and a community that is so passionate about our platform was very attractive.”

And Lowe – Tiktok’s new head of customer solutions – joins from Quantcast, where she was head of strategic accounts, and has also worked at iProspect and Carat. In her new role, she will oversee Tiktok’s customer solutions team and work with clients and agencies.

“I am proud to be part of the positive impact we’re making on people’s daily lives, helping connect brands authentically to their audiences, and leading an inspired team of people every day,” she said.

Locally, Tiktok has already worked with clients including Movember, Optus, Milo, Apple, V Energy, and Mini. A fortnight ago, the business updated its policies to explicitly ban deepfakes and combat misinformation, and last November appointed PHD to its global media account.


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