Arvind Hickman
Apr 12, 2023

Stagwell's Assembly hires former Havas Media chief

Matt Adams, who was most recently COO at Brainlabs, is Assembly's new Europe and UK leader.

Assembly Europe CEO Matt Adams
Assembly Europe CEO Matt Adams

Stagwell’s global digitally-led media agency Assembly has revealed Matt Adams as its first Europe chief executive.

Adams has joined directly from Brainlabs, where he has been global chief operating officer for the past three years. It emerged last October that he would be departing Brainlabs in March.

He will oversee Assembly’s operations in continental Europe and the UK, with a focus on business development and sustainable growth across the region.

The appointment is part of a regional leadership restructure that is effective immediately. Assembly's European operations were previously led by managing director Kate O'Keeffe but she has left the business.

The restructure also sees North America president Valerie Davis promoted to North America chief executive, APAC managing director Richard Brosgill elevated to APAC chief executive, and MENA managing director Faisal Dean become MENA chief executive. 

All regional chiefs will report into James Townsend, the global chief executive of Assembly and Stagwell Brand x Performance Network.

Adams has more than 20 years of senior leadership experience working across both the media owner and agency sides of the business, including leading the UK operations of Havas Media.

“We are thrilled to welcome Matt to Assembly, where he’ll lead our European business and bring our proposition ‘find the change that fuels growth’ to new heights,” Townsend said.

“He is someone who knows how to unlock the potential of his teams, provide immense value to clients, and build strategic and innovative business solutions to drive success.”

Assembly employs 1,600 people around the world and specialises in digital, data and technology-led media agency solutions. 

It sits alongside offline media buying and planning specialist Goodstuff within Stagwell's structure. The pair, which have a European workforce of 500, recently won work for the travel business On The Beach in a joint pitch.

During his tenure at Brainlabs Adams helped it evolve from a pay-per-click specialist to a full-service digital-first media agency and quadruple in size.

He joined Brainlabs in 2020 after three and a half years as UK and Ireland chief executive of Havas Media Group – current boss Patrick Affleck was his successor – and has also held leadership positions at Dentsu’s iProspect, where he was managing director, Digitas and MEC (which merged with Maxus to form Wavemaker). Earlier in his career, Adams held senior roles at Yahoo UK and Ireland.

He has been recognised as one of Campaign’s top 10 media planners and agency leaders in recent years, and is also a member of the IPA Media Futures Group.

“Assembly has more than its fair share of top talent, is globally scaled and regionally relevant,” Adams said.

“In today’s environment, winning agencies are able to effectively generate value while delivering on smart and innovative marketing and media solutions that fuel growth, and Assembly has that in spades. I couldn’t have joined at a better time."

Brainlabs has recently gone through further leadership changes, with former UK chief executive Jo Lyall, US chief executive Jeremy Cornfeldt and UK chief growth officer Emma Storer all leaving in February. EssenceMediacom has appointed Adam Potashnick as chief executive of Brainlabs US.


Campaign UK

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