Danks will report to chief revenue officer Clare Rush and will be responsible for building partnerships with clients and helping brands connect with the right audiences across mobile, social and video.
Having joined Telegraph Media Group as client director in 2011, she worked at The Independent and The Evening Standard for two years as deputy commercial director, where she was responsible for reviewing the group’s entire commercial operations, and then sales director.
Her move to Independent Newspapers came after 17 years at Express Newspapers, most recently as head of trading after roles as group advertising controller across the group and ad controller at the Daily Star
Danks’ appointment comes at an especially tough time for newspapers beyond the long-term trend of advertisers switching spend to Facebook and Google. Zenith's latest adspend report forecasts a 6% decline in newspaper adspend to £1.27bn in 2017.
However, the latest Pamco figures showed a 1% growth for newsbrands across all platforms: a 3% fall in print readership was accompanied by an 8% drop in desktop readership was mitigated by a 4% rise in mobile.
Nevertheless the Mail's publisher DMGT pulled out of an industry-wide plan to pool newspaper ad sales in January.
It is the second major appointment by Rush since being promoted last year to replace Mel Scott. Dominic Williams, chief trading officer at Dentsu Aegis Network’s buying arm Amplifi, will join Mail Advertising in June as chief investment officer.
Rob Lynam, the former head of trading at MEC UK, joined Mail Advertising as head of commercial development last year.
Mail Advertising, formerly known as Mail Brands, is the sales team for DMG Media titles the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline.
Rush said: "Mel is a highly skilled and respected industry leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, as well as an unmatched ‘little black book’ of contacts.
"In a fast-changing market, Mel will provide our clients with an expert and authoritative view of the ad world and further strengthen our talented leadership team."