Y&R poaches Iris' Sophie Lewis to be CSO in reboot

Lewis takes over from Emily James, who is setting up a freelance practice.

Y&R's leadership team: Lawson, Lewis, Burley and Lee
Y&R's leadership team: Lawson, Lewis, Burley and Lee

Y&R London has poached Sophie Lewis, the head of planning at Iris, to be chief strategy officer as part of a reboot of the agency.

Lewis takes over the role from Emily James, who is stepping down after almost 13 years at the company to set up a freelance practice.

Y&R will become James’ founding client and contract two to three days a week of her time, during which she will provide strategic advice for Y&R clients as and when required, the WPP agency said.

Lewis’ responsibilities will include leading Y&R’s strategic output, continuing to build the strategy department’s breadth of capability and helping to guide future strategy.

The appointment is part of Y&R's attempt to rejuvenate itself after a tumultuous seven years, which has involved the agency dropping "Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe" from its name as it seeks to make a clean break.

Lewis will sit on the senior management team alongside chief executive Paul Lawson, chief creative officer Jon Burley and managing director Katie Lee.

Lawson, Burley and Lee previously worked together at Leo Burnett London and were brought together by Y&R global president David Patton.

Lewis said: "It’s the most exciting reboot in London and I am joining an amazing team. We all want to make extraordinarily creative and effective ideas for both our current and our future clients."

She is one of the 2014 winners of the IPA’s Women of Tomorrow competition and has a career spanning 20 years in the industry.

Lewis started in account management before rising to business director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, later taking on planning roles at Mother, J Walter Thompson and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

She has worked across high-profile campaigns including Boots "Here come the girls", Sainsbury’s "Christmas in a day" and Libresse "No blood".

Lawson said: "Sophie’s proven track record blends deep experience of building brands through powerful creativity with an appreciation of the opportunities afforded by the modern marketing landscape.

"This makes her the perfect appointment as we continue to extend the agency’s offering and diversify its output."