Staff Reporters
Apr 23, 2020

Merkle's global CEO steps aside after more than 32 years

Craig Dempster, currently president of Merkle Americas, will take over as global CEO on June 1, as longtime chairman and CEO David Williams changes focus to a group CRM role.

Craig Dempster
Craig Dempster

Following Dentsu Aegis Network's accelerated buyout last week, performance agency Merkle announced that Craig Dempster will be promoted from president of Merkle Americas to global CEO effective June 1. David Williams, chairman and CEO of Merkle for more than 32 years, will remain chairman of Merkle while retaining his roles as CEO of the Global CRM Group for Dentsu Aegis Network and chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas.

Dempster has led the Americas since 2017 and has been part of Merkle’s executive leadership team since joining the company in 2006. He has reported directly to Williams for more than 10 years, and the company credits him with an integral role in driving growth and profitability in the Americas, which represents 80% of global annual revenue. 

The company praised Williams for overseeing the company's global expansion and growth from $2.5 million in revenue to more than $1 billion. He also oversaw the company’s sale to Dentsu in 2016 and its integration over the past four years, according to a release. 

David Williams

As global CEO Dempster will oversee more than 9,600 employees in 13 countries, including recent acquisitions Media Storm, Digital Pi, and 4Cite. He will also assume responsibility for Dentsu Aegis brands within the CRM line of business, including 360i, Gyro, and Cardinal Path.

“[Dempster] has been a crucial leader in the success we’ve seen with Merkle over the past 14 years, and I’m confident in his ability to lead our employees and clients through this time of disruption and into the future,” Williams said in the release. 

Merkle reported a 21.2% increase in revenue in 2019, with expansion into new markets and the addition of more than 220 new clients and 3,700 employees including 2,500 data scientists as part of its acquisition of Ugam.

“I am honored to take on the role of global CEO of Merkle, and accepting the reins from a CEO of David Williams’s caliber makes it all the more rewarding," Dempster said. "He is a visionary leader who has dedicated 32 years of his life to this industry and to making Merkle the great company it is today. His are big shoes to fill, and I am immensely grateful for his mentorship, his friendship, and the trust he has placed in me."

Prior to his current role, Dempster served as global agency services lead, and as chief marketing officer after originally joining Merkle as head of its data and analytics business. 

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