He is the first significant hire by James Wildman, who became Hearst UK’s chief executive in April and has already shaken up his top team.
In the newly created role, Ffitch will oversee research, insight, data strategy, business-to-business marketing and commercial development at the owner of Elle and Harper’s Bazaar.
Wildman said Ffitch would "bring deep experience of communications planning into the heart of the business" and help the company expand in areas such as digital, events, licensing and customer publishing.
Ffitch spent 25 years at Manning Gottlieb OMD. He was at TMG for only a year, leaving in February 2017.
Wildman said Hearst UK, which reported a £5.4m loss in its last annual accounts, has suffered because staff felt "we didn’t have a vision".
He has moved Jane Wolfson to the role of chief agency officer, while Duncan Chater and Sharon Douglas have become chief brand officers.