O'Callaghan has moved to Kuala Lumpur, where she will be based, from London where she was head of HR for ESI Media. There she was responsible for creating and leading the HR function at the UK-based digital, broadcasting and publishing group.
In this role, she will be working closely with the Asia-Pacific management team, reporting to John Goodman, chief executive for Asia-Pacific, and Simon Heath, global chief talent officer.
The role was created at this time, explained O'Callaghan, because the agency needed a strong talent strategy to support its ambitious growth plans. "[Goodman] decided he wanted a dedicated HR report to work with him on the management team," she said.
O'Callaghan will be responsible for creating a structured long-term people strategy for the 1,100-strong team at Geometry that will answer the agency's needs to attract and retain talent, as well as assess and develop people within the network.
"The business is in a growth phase so attracting the right blend of talent is crucial," said O'Callaghan. "We recognise our employees are a critical asset and for our high-potential employees we want them to grow into our network, to be part of the leadership pipeline and ultimately, part of our succession plan."
The agency decided to base O'Callaghan in Malaysia because the country represents a main hub and is one of Geometry's strongest and fastest-growing offices. Also, the regional CFO Jay Vyas, who she will be working with closely, is based in Kuala Lumpur.
Prior to ESI Media, O'Callaghan was HR manager at DMG Media and has also held senior HR roles at Deloitte, HSBC and ING.
"I would say I'm an HR generalist," she said when asked about the skills that led to her appointment at Geometry. "My skillset is pretty varied across talent management, recruitment, compensation, benefits and employee relations. I have also worked with Simon Heath in a past life, and my experience with media organisations in London gives me experience in a world where HR is a growing need and where you need to be flexible in your approach."
Goodman believes O'Callaghan will be a major asset to the agency's growth plans in the region. "As a business, we are focused on investing in and nurturing our people at all levels," he said. "Katie will lead a more systematic and structured approach to talent development, performance management and recruitment.”