Gemma Greaves, chief executive of The Marketing Society, has resigned after three years at the helm.
Having joined the organisation in 2006, Greaves now plans to start a new business venture, Nurture, and continue growing Cabal, a boutique club she founded in 2013.
Greaves is co-founding Nurture with Dan Cresta, a former strategist who has held positions at the7stars and Exterion Media. She said the business will have connectivity at its core.
Speaking to Campaign, Greaves explained: "We are creating a business together which is all about the power of connections to build better business. It’s about, through the power of our black book, being able to connect the right people to the right things. There will be events; talking about the things that matter; representative of amazing talent.
"It’s in its beta phase at the moment, but it’s really exciting and should be awesome."
Simultaneously, Greaves has set her sights on expanding Cabal, her "hand-picked club of extraordinary people", globally.
She said: "Cabal has always had so much potential – it’s grown over the years. It’s a beautiful boutique club, but I’d like to take it to the next level, and I think there’s opportunity for it to be global."
In a statement, The Marketing Society said Greaves would remain in place for the next few months to ensure a smooth transition. Craig Inglis, customer director at John Lewis & Partners and chairman of The Marketing Society, is leading the search for a new chief executive.
Inglis said: "I'm extremely sad to see Gemma leave. She's a force of nature and her relentless drive and positive energy have made her the lifeblood of The Marketing Society for many years.
"She's been the driving force behind our expansion globally and the groundbreaking 'Brave' agenda that she masterminded will be her powerful legacy."
Greaves encouraged "outstanding" applicants to contact her directly, saying: "The search is on."
During her tenure, Greaves has overseen the organisation's expansion from a UK-based network (in Birmingham, Bristol, London and Manchester) to a global community spanning seven countries. Hubs now include New York, Singapore and Dubai.
"There wasn’t much of a sense of community and now there’s a thriving global community representing around 3,000 of the best marketers," Greaves said.
She also launched The Marketing Society's "Brave" agenda, which she explains was introduced in three phases – brave, braver and bravest – to coincide with a planned three-year tenure.
Reflecting on the changes, Greaves said: "I’ve been at the society for over a decade and being chief executive has been the true career highlight, but I always knew there would be a set time; three years and the 'Brave' trilogy felt like the right thing to have the impact I wanted to have, to then be able to hand over to someone else.
"Brave lives on whatever agenda we have on a yearly basis. Brave will always be something at the heart of us and will live on way beyond me.
"This is a really big decision for me to leave such an incredible company and opportunity. I feel so blessed, but the time is right. What a privilege it has been to lead such an influential network of the best and brightest in our industry."
Diageo’s chief marketing officer, Syl Saller, who was recently awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list, described Greaves as "an iconic brave leader who has led a transformational agenda with heart and authenticity".
Saller, also the president of The Marketing Society, said: "She has led The Marketing Society to a new mission, which touches the lives of so many people. We should all be so proud of the clarity she and the team have brought to the mission, inspiring us all to be just that much braver."