Croud has hired iProspect UK chief strategy officer Emil Bielski to be the global digital marketing agency’s first UK managing director amid its private equity-fuelled expansion plan.
In his new role, Bielski will sit on the agency’s new operational board and report to chief executive and co-founder Luke Smith. His key focuses will be clients, data and insights, planning, ecommerce and the Google Marketing Platform.
Previously, Smith was responsible for managing Croud in the UK alongside his broader remit, but with the agency expanding (particularly in the US) it has now felt necessary to appoint a UK managing director.
The appointment follows Croud’s recent £30m investment deal with LDC, the private-equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.
Bielski started his career at i-Level and later moved to planning and new business at WPP’s Group M (at MEC and Maxus, now merged and known as Wavemaker). Since January 2018, he had been chief strategy officer at iProspect, where he led all craft disciplines, data teams and strategic planning.
He follows in the footsteps of Andy Siviter, who joined Croud from iProspect in January in a lead ecommerce role. Jerry Buhlman, former global chief executive of iProspect's parent company Dentsu Aegis Network, also joined Croud in February as chairman.
Campaign understands that Bielski left iProspect last week following a consultation process that had ended in May. Dentsu Aegis had announced that hundreds of jobs would be cut in the UK as part of a global restructure in December 2019. A spokesman for Dentsu Aegis declined to comment.
Croud, which began as a search agency in 2011, has expanded in recent years as digital has grown in importance and its services now range from "through-the-marketing-funnel" engagement on platforms such as Facebook to web experience, analytics, conversion rate optimisation and speeding up mobile web-page loading times. It is also well-known for employing an international network of freelancers, known as Croudies, who work remotely and support the agency’s core staff.
Smith said of Bielski: "He’s going to be a key part of the next era for Croud as we develop our business further into data, technology and consultancy. What impressed me most since speaking to Emil is just how well-regarded across the industry he is.
"His time spent working for network agencies and understanding the opportunity for Croud in today’s landscape makes him a great fit for where we’re headed – continuing to grow our offering as a fully integrated, digital-first global media agency."