Northey: briefed to develop insight
MindShare has poached Zed Media's head of data planning, Duncan Northey, for the newly created role of director of customer information.
Northey, who had been at ZenithOptimedia-owned Zed since 1999, will take up his role this week.
He will be charged with integrating MindShare's data planning and database management activities and developing this service for both new and existing clients.
His appointment is the latest in a series of moves by the agency to boost its offering to clients in the specialist area of insight.
Northey's division will work closely with MindShare's existing specialist teams - MindShare ATG, the media and brand economics group, and MindShare Consumer Insight.
Northey will join the UK managing partners' board, reporting to futures director Jed Glanvill.
According to Glanvill, boosting the area of insight is a core part of the agency's growth strategy. "Understanding consumers is probably the most important thing for us as an agency," he said.
"All of these new roles are about generating information about our clients' consumers in more depth than generic industry tools."
Northey's appointment is the latest in a series of hirings at MindShare following the arrival of Kelly Clark as chief executive last summer.
Later in the year, former Optimedia head of new business Sandra Collins was drafted in to boost the agency's image following industry criticism of its development.
Among the concerns expressed was the suggestion that MindShare had failed to maximize its role as the "House of Media" within the WPP empire.
Within months of taking the helm at MindShare, Clark vowed to ensure that winning new business and marketing the agency would be high on his list of priorities.
Commenting on Northey's appointment, Glanvill said: "Consumer and customer insight is at the heart of what we do.
"Duncan has been charged with developing this area further to turn our clients' customer information into the insight that drives our communications solutions."
At Zed, Northey worked with a range of high-profile clients, including Telewest and AA.