Now completes leadership line-up with strategy hire

Gabrielle Bell will work alongside chairman and founder John Townshend, chief executive Larissa Vince and chief creative officer Ben da Costa.

Now: (from left) da Costa, Bell, Vince and Townshend
Now: (from left) da Costa, Bell, Vince and Townshend

Now has appointed Gabrielle Bell, the former chief strategy officer at M&C Saatchi, as its chief strategy officer.

When Bell starts her new role in November she will run the strategy department at the independent agency, which works with brands including BT, EE and New York Bakery Co. She completes the shop’s senior line-up, which comprises chairman and founder John Townshend, chief executive Larissa Vince and chief creative officer Ben da Costa.

Ben Stewart, head of strategy at Now, who has been leading the agency’s strategic thinking since the departure of Kate Waters for ITV in February last year, will report to Bell.

At M&C Saatchi between 2013 and 2017, Bell rose from strategy director to chief strategy officer and led the planning for NatWest and Public Health England’s Change4Life, among others. She was part of the management team that bought 30% of the UK ad agency in 2016.

After leaving M&C Saatchi, Bell joined the Omnicom brand consultancy Hall & Partners as chief executive in April 2018 before moving to the brand and design agency Bulletproof as its managing director in September 2019.

Earlier in her career, Bell worked at JWT (now Wunderman Thompson) and at FCB precursor DraftFCB, where she was the global strategy lead for Nivea-owner Beiersdorf, an account she was instrumental in winning for the agency.

Vince said: “Now’s values are to make great work and care for our people, so Gabs is the perfect fit for us. She’s a force of nature and a breath of fresh air, and the quality of her strategic thinking is matched only by her ambition, enthusiasm and kindness.”

Vince and da Costa joined last year after the departure of founding partners Waters and Melissa Robertson and former chief creative officer Remco Graham. The agency’s fourth founding partner Mark Lund left in 2014 to run McCann Worldgroup, as its UK chief executive. 

Bell said: “Structural change in the advertising industry is accelerating rapidly and the consumer’s mind is elsewhere. Now recognises that, and I can’t wait to develop that thinking further alongside the extremely talented Larissa, Ben and John.”

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