Digitas UK completes top team after poaching Lida's Claire Cootes

Digital shop is looking to build customer engagement proposition.

Digitas UK: Holt, Cootes, de la Fosse, Hughes, Bassil, Doherty and Blandford
Digitas UK: Holt, Cootes, de la Fosse, Hughes, Bassil, Doherty and Blandford

Digitas UK has appointed Lida's chief operating officer, Claire Cootes, as managing director as it looks to build its CRM capability.

The move completes Digitas' UK executive team, the Publicis Groupe digital agency said, after last year's management exodus.

Cootes is tasked with leading the day-to-day running of the agency and building its client services team while growing its customer engagement proposition.  

She will sit on the UK management team and report to chief executive Dani Bassil. 

At M&C Saatchi-owned Lida, Cootes was chief operating officer for two years, having been promoted from managing director. She also led the O2 account during her five-year stint at Lida.

Cootes previously held senior positions at Ogilvy and Iris. 

Bassil has also promoted client partner Paul Doherty, who has run accounts including Kellogg and American Express, to managing partner. He will lead the agency's growth strategies.

Meanwhile, Owen Hughes has been appointed chief operating officer. Hughes was previously Digitas’ commercial director for five years before taking on the role of group commercial director at Publicis Groupe in early 2019.

Digitas' entire management team left last year, as well as more than a third of its staff, following a restructure and the axing of LBi from its agency name. Senior departures included chief creative officer Chris Clarke and chief strategy officer Fern Miller.

The executive team now also includes chief creative officer Emma de la Fosse, chief strategy officer Matt Holt and chief product officer Rafe Blandford.

Bassil said: "They say you should surround yourself with people better and smarter than you. No better case in point than Claire and this whole team. They are absolutely world-class."