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This is a weekly collection of the New York team's Foursquare check-ins. Razorfish on Foursquare
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Daniel Bonner Global Chief Creative Officer
"Organizations have a brand and that brand is a promise – a promise to play a meaningful, indispensable role in the lives of their audience – thats where we come in."
I get most excited when brands stop talking and start doing. Organizations require a new generation of thinking, ideas, storytelling, interaction, digital products and utility-driven services to keep their promise to play a meaningful, indispensable role in the lives of their audience.
I joined Razorfish in 2011 with a brief to focus on the creative leadership of our key multinational clients and to help Razorfish realize the ambition of being the market leader in creative excellence, talent, brand profile and positioning.
Prior to joining Razorfish, I spent 15 years as a key leader at AKQA, growing the business and working with a large number of the world’s top 50 brands. While leading the creative team and working with some truly talented people, I was fortunate enough to be recognized as one of the world’s most awarded creative directors and had the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the agency’s 21 Agency of the Year accolades.
In addition to collaboration with clients, I produced design practice workshops for the Design Museum, London, and worked with students via their education program. I have also served as judge and chairperson for the leading UK, European and global creative award initiatives in the advertising and design industry. In 2010, I was proud to be recognized as the UK’s No.1 Digital Creative Director and was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of my work and overall contribution to excellence in digital advertising.
Doug Chapman Managing Director, Razorfish Australia
"I have spent the best part of my life either in client service or agency management. I have a passion for everything digital."
I have spent the best part of my life either in client service or agency management. I have a passion for everything digital.
Prior to joining Razorfish, I founded one of Australia’s leading brand activation companies: Chapman and Lester, which I sold to The Marketing Store Worldwide as part of a global merger by the HAVI Group in Chicago. The Marketing Store was and remains the world’s largest privately owned promotions company.
I then spent the next 10 years as the president of Asia Pacific, and opened startup offices for TMS in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.
In early 2007, I began to get involved in social media and ultimately cofounded the Social Media Club Sydney. At the time SMCSYD was the largest Social Media Club in the world; there are now 300+ chapters around the world, and growing.
With this newfound passion for all things digital, I decided on a career change and in June 2009, I left The Marketing Store after 21 years and joined Amnesia Razorfish as Executive Director — Client Service. In 2012, I was appointed Managing Director.
Anne Davis SVP, Head of Multi-National Clients
“Many client companies are establishing global operations in APAC. We are the only global agency network equipped to support this regional business focus. My role supports the evolution of Razorfish’s relationships with clients; partnering to navigate the unknown, drive change and enable business transformation.”
Whilst born an Australian, I’ve had the great privilege of living in some incredibly dynamic and ever-evolving countries during my childhood and career. This experience has given me an enormous appetite for working with international clients, alongside people and cultures all over the world. I think the challenge of making connections with people who have such varied and different lives from our own is what makes our industry so exciting.
I began my career in Australia, working in PR for Sportsgirl, an iconic Australian fashion retailer. Famous for their advertising campaigns at the time, I decided I wanted a piece of the action and made the move agency side to work with Myer (then known as Myer Grace Bros), another iconic Aussie brand. From there, itchy feet and a desire to see the world led me to London and eventually to FCB, where I began working on pan-European technology accounts. Working on Amazon's launch in the U.K. during the early days of ecommerce made me curious to learn more about the new online world, and I jumped at a chance to join Euro RSCG's then fledgling digital team. Growing from five of us sharing a corner office to a 70-strong team at the heart of Havas 4Ds U.K. agency EHS Brann made it an exciting time to be in an agency, and I was lucky to work with global and U.K. brands at the forefront of digital marketing.
After eight years in the U.K., I headed to Singapore to join OgilvyOne Worldwide, where I worked with diverse regional clients ranging from Diageo to Cisco. Working in Asia was an incredible experience — everything is on “fast forward” in terms of the way people use technology. When I joined Digitas Razorfish International, I was able to bring with me an understanding and knowledge of Asian markets for our European and U.S. clients, who were beginning to expand their operations in the region.
Now based in Hong Kong, I am working with Razorfish MNC leads across the globe to build an operation and culture that embraces multinational opportunities. Many of our clients are establishing global operations in APAC — it's an exciting place to be and it's great to be home again.
Shannon Denton Chief Executive Officer, North America
"I like thinking about what's next — and am particularly passionate about how Razorfish and our clients can take specific action to capitalize on changes in technology and consumer behavior."
I grew up loving sports, video games and math, which made pursuing a degree in engineering and computer science a natural decision for me. Believe it or not, my first job out of college was writing software programs for telephone switches in machine language. That was obviously long before software, creativity and marketing became so intertwined.
I quickly discovered that I needed to do something a little more dynamic, so I made the shift to consulting and led various practices that helped businesses innovate through emerging technologies. Prior to joining Razorfish more than a decade ago, I was the CEO of a digital consultancy for several years, where I became addicted to working with creatives, strategists, marketers and technologists to solve the most challenging business and marketing problems.
Today, I most enjoy working closely with clients and the Razorfish teams to create new strategies and ideas that are innovative and, of course, add value to brands and businesses. I like thinking about what's next — and am particularly passionate about how Razorfish and our clients can take specific action to capitalize on changes in technology and consumer behavior.
As the CEO of our North American operations, I oversee client teams and offices in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco. Previously, I was the leader of the Central region, managing our client teams and offices across Chicago, Atlanta and Austin. My other roles at Razorfish include executive leadership for several global practice groups including Emerging Experiences and Omnichannel Commerce. Outside of work, I enjoy running, sports and spending time with my wife and two children.
Vincent Digonnet Executive Chairman APAC
"I joined Razorfish as president of Asia Pacific to build out our China, India, Hong Kong and Australia operations, a network able to accompany our clients in their business transformation, particularly through the development of e-commerce and social media capabilities."
Fresh from an MBA with a major in International Business Strategy and Finance, I started a career in advertising that over the next 25 years would take me from Paris to London and eventually to Singapore. My choices were not influenced by what I had learned but by the people I met. At the time, advertising drove change and created new marketing rules of engagement. I wanted to be part of the magic it generated and the feeling that nothing was impossible.
I embraced the challenges of globalization and led advertising changes in Europe for brands like Mars and Master Foods as well as the marketing transformation of companies like Air France from national to worldwide carrier. Beyond helping clients adapt their marketing organizations to a new world order, I was keen to embrace change within my organization, and as CEO of the EURORSCG Group in APAC for eight years, I led the transformation of a collection of advertising agencies into a network of 21 fully integrated operations in 15 countries through the development of marketing services and emerging digital capabilities.
Conscious that the digital revolution was only in its infancy and that advertising networks would never undertake the fundamental structural changes necessary to drive Internet and mobile opportunities beyond the realm of advertising, it was time to reinvent myself. In 2005, I became an entrepreneur and started a joint venture in Shanghai with a major Chinese digital company to develop a high-level, online operational marketing consultancy as well as a platform to manage CRM programs on mobile phones… slightly ahead of time.
In January 2011, I joined Razorfish as president of Asia Pacific to build out our China, India, Hong Kong and Australia operations, a network able to accompany our clients in their business transformation, particularly through the development of e-commerce and social media capabilities, both organically and through acquisitions.
Patrick Frend President, US East Region
“In today’s digital world, we can deliver solutions that we could only dream about 15 years ago.”
When I left management consulting in 1999 to join a hot little firm called Razorfish, I did not anticipate the journey we were beginning together. I had always been fascinated by the latest trends in technology and its impact on business, and I found Razorfish provided the perfect opportunity for me to put to use my study of economics and computer science at Bowdoin College. Little did I know that I would still be with the same organization 15 years later.
Fast forward to today, and it’s incredible to see how much the digital world has grown and how much Razorfish has grown along with it — not just in scale, but also in the maturity and diversity of our offerings. In today’s digital world, we can deliver solutions that we could only dream about 15 years ago. Back then, we were working with slow connections and browsers on low-resolution screens. Today, we are building solutions for everything from smartphones, to large-scale interactive displays, to connected cars — and it still feels like just the beginning.
The work that Razorfish does requires people with a wide array of backgrounds and skill sets. By blending those skills, magic happens. Our teams of strategists, creatives, technologists, channel planners and more collaborate to invent things that have never been seen or done before.
As president of the East region, I am also excited about the brands we work with — from Ford, to Delta Air Lines, to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, to Mercedes-Benz. These aren’t just clients, but brands that I have a personal relationship with outside of work, and that have made digital central to their customer experience.
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my amazing wife and two beautiful daughters. I also enjoy cycling, camping and am an avid Boston sports fan (living in enemy territory!).
Jen Friese President, US West Region
“In our business, change is constant — it’s inevitable. You can either fight against it, or embrace it. I prefer the latter. Change is our friend. And, more often than not, it can transform us in ways we never imagined.”
I’ve been with Razorfish for 12 years, and during that time I’ve seen the company’s name change more times than I can count. But, even though the words on our business cards have changed, our core values haven’t. That’s just one of the things I love about Razorfish and the people I work with. I’m proud to have seen us through some tough challenges and amazing transformations over the years, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
As president of the agency’s West region, I manage a multidisciplinary team of more than 400 people. Together, we’re responsible for managing brand creative, retail, media and online strategies for advertising and experience-focused clients. The West leads some of our largest account relationships, including Microsoft and T-Mobile, as well as a diverse collection of travel companies and several high profile automotive clients.
I’m enthusiastic, creative and resourceful in driving growth, increasing presence and making sure that Razorfish is uniquely positioned to lead. I’m most proud of our ongoing strategic partnership with Microsoft, which has allowed Razorfish to become a true AOR.
When I’m not in the office, you’ll find me relaxing with my husband and our two kids, Joe and Anna Kate. We love exploring all the amazing places Portland has to offer, and we spend as much time as we can in beautiful Central Oregon.
Erik Hermanson Managing Director, Hong Kong and Singapore
I have a strong international background and expertise in digital marketing and social media. I’ve lived and worked in 6 countries and picked up 4 languages while doing so (including conversational Chinese and Japanese).
As the Managing Director Razorfish Hong Kong and Singapore, I’m responsible for managing the operations, driving the agency’s business strategy, and overseeing internal staff and resources. In addition to this, I’m the senior lead responsible for all multinational accounts (and account teams) in both Hong Kong and Singapore. Our Hong Kong and Singapore offices act as central hubs for our multinational clients deploying campaigns and programs across the APAC region.
Since I joined Razorfish in March 2012, I have helped to drive several innovative digital marketing projects and campaigns, and established a strong base of operations from which to service our growing client base. I have also seen the office’s work shortlisted for five awards and win two mobile marketing awards.
I have a strong international background and expertise in digital marketing and social media. I have lived and worked in three continents (six different countries – Canada, UK, Taiwan ROC, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia) and picked up four languages while doing so (including conversational Chinese and Japanese). My first international assignment was in Taiwan ROC where, as member of a leading digital software company, I planned and executed global B2C online marketing programs, as well as co-marketing campaigns with strategic partners such as Intel and Dolby, and supported OEM customers such as Dell, Acer, and Toshiba in their GTM strategy.
After spending four years in the PC industry, I spent eight strong years working for Research in Motion (RIM - developers of BlackBerry smartphones) in three of their regional offices (Canada, UK and Singapore). While on assignment in the UK, I was able to drive several large co-marketing efforts with strategic partners (Yahoo! and Facebook), and built a strong online and retail presence for BlackBerry with several of RIM’s main channel partners (O2, Carphone Warehouse, TIM, Vodafone, etc) that helped take consumer sales from 30% of total revenue to 70% over the span of two years.
More recently I was based in Singapore, heading up RIM's digital marketing efforts in APAC. Over a period of two years, my team and I made BlackBerry the 3rd largest fan site in Indonesia, the 2nd largest tech fan site in India, and organized the largest ever Foursquare swarm event in Asia (over 30k check-ins in less than four hours).
LeeYee Hew Chief Operating Officer, Greater China
"I am a strong believer that digital marketing is the evolution of direct marketing but technology makes the experience even more personal, deeper and insightful."
Growing up in a shoe factory family and seeing how my parents tried to cope with ever-changing shoe trends and market competition taught me an important lesson: Your passion will never fail you if you are persistent enough to pursue it genuinely and be entrepreneurial.
As a fresh graduate, I started as an account executive at Grey Direct Interactive with little knowledge of direct marketing or interactive. I was fascinated by the thinking behind the work but equally shocked by the drama that seemed to be required to make every single project deliver on time and on budget. Nonetheless, that’s where I completed “Agency 101” and where I shaped my view on talent development and agency operation.
Thirteen years later in March of 2012, I joined Razorfish and Digitas to head up operations in Shanghai. Prior to that I spent eight years at OgilvyOne. I joined OgilvyOne Malaysia as account manager for Nestlé, IBM and HSBC. Then I was transferred to Thailand to lead a Diageo multibrand account before being offered to set up the OgilvyOne office in Vietnam. That was one of my greatest challenges as I had to put all I had learned to the test — business model, operation structure, integration of an agency acquisition and team development.
I am a strong believer that digital marketing is the evolution of direct marketing but technology makes the experience even more personal, deeper and insightful. That is my focus now in Shanghai. We are upscaling our technology capability and innovation-driven business thinking to increase the gap between us and traditional digital agencies. More important, we inspire everyone in the agency to have fun while creating business that works for our clients.
Michael Karg Chief Executive Officer, International
"My focus is orchestrating Razorfish’s international network capabilities, which enable us to deliver breakthrough, award-winning work for clients across geographies."
After completing graduate studies in finance and accounting at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland in 1994, I secured a position with the Austrian Trade Commission in Malaysia, consulting companies on their market entry strategies. This early international career experience and cultural education set the tone for the rest of my professional journey.
Passionate about academic research, I returned to Switzerland in 1996 for doctoral studies. At that time, I also joined the Institute of Marketing to be part of large-scale European-wide research projects about best practices in marketing. Consequently, I advised industry-leading firms such as Hilti, Siemens, and Credit Suisse on customer acquisition, retention and marketing profitability strategies.
After receiving a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, I was accepted by Harvard University to continue my doctoral studies in 1999. During this time, I published several books, articles and case studies on best practices in marketing. In 2000, I joined Digitas in Boston, and in 2004 took on responsibility for the 100+ strong Strategy & Analysis teams in Boston and Detroit, leading large-scale assignments for clients including AT&T, Bayer, Ericsson, General Motors, Microsoft and SAP.
When Digitas was bought by the Publicis Groupe in 2007, I moved to London to serve global clients including General Motors and Samsung, and continued on to co-lead Digitas’ London operation with an emphasis on re-igniting its strategic and creative direction.
In 2010, the Publicis Groupe purchased Razorfish and I became Chief Operating Officer International, with responsibility for all offices and markets outside the US, and in 2011 added additional responsibilities as President EMEA. In May 2013 following the integration of DigitasLBi I was elevated to the position of CEO Razorfish International.
Experience across multiple continents and an extensive academic career have contributed many insights and learnings to my role. As well as overseeing key multinational client relationships, my focus is orchestrating Razorfish’s international network capabilities, which enable us to deliver breakthrough, award-winning work for clients across geographies.
Vik Kathuria Global Chief Media Officer
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm."
I was named global chief media officer at Razorfish in April 2014. In this role, I’m responsible for leading the agency’s 300 media employees worldwide and driving Razorfish’s exclusive digital media strategy — from its executive level partner relationships, to its proprietary data solution infrastructure. I oversee a global client roster that includes DHL, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, HSN and Best Buy, and am focused on further strengthening and aligning Razorfish’s global media practice and commanding significant new business efforts.
As a 20-year industry veteran, I was previously global head of digital investments at Mediacom/GroupM, where I built the company's entire digital investment team in the U.S., and was part of the corporate strategy team within GroupM, influencing GroupM agencies all over the world. I served as senior vice president of digital media for OMD, and in senior global marketing positions at Citigroup (New York) and PepsiCo (Singapore). I also served as senior partner at Prime Access/RMG Connect and as a managing director at Zefer Technologies/Modem Media.
I’ve been named an Agency Innovator by Internationalist Magazine, and one of Cynopsis Media’s Most Intriguing People. A wide variety of industry conferences and panels have sought me out as a speaker, and I’m regularly quoted in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Advertising Age and more. I earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Delhi and the London School of Economics and Political Science, before completing MBA from Harvard Business School and Clark University.
William Lidstone Global Chief Marketing Officer
"I believe that great brands are no longer built on storytelling alone, but on their ability to play an important role in the life of the consumer — primarily through utility and service.”
I originally joined Razorfish in 2011 as executive vice president, and since then my role has grown and evolved. Now, as chief marketing officer alongside Chief Creative Officer Daniel Bonner, I am responsible for leading the Razorfish brand globally, while accelerating growth in international markets and driving multinational client development with a specific focus on Audi, DHL and Nike.
I believe that great brands are no longer built on storytelling alone, but on their ability to play an important role in the life of the consumer — primarily through utility and service. I call this approach to 21st century marketing “Super-Useful-Super-Brands.”
Prior to Razorfish, I spent a decade working with Daniel Bonner as part of the leadership team at AKQA, delivering ideas, technology and service design for Coca-Cola, Diageo, Ferrari, Fiat, Heineken, McLaren Automotive, Nike, Unilever and Xbox.
As well as spearheading Razorfish marketing efforts, I lead key research and proprietary intellectual property initiatives. I have spoken on behalf the agency at the iMedia Brand Summit in India, and hosted the 2013 Razorfish Client Summit in the U.S.
I am honored to be a member of Mensa International, and was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2010.
Sascha Martini Chief Executive Officer, Germany
“I believe that, in the future, advertising won’t differentiate brands. Instead, it will be the service dimension, the ability to enhance the product and the life of the consumer that will drive the connections with customers.”
Technology is continually evolving — presenting us with new opportunities and influencing how we interact. I believe there is huge potential for agencies to transform how businesses engage with their customers, and that embracing change is vital for success amid this progression.
I was born in Cape Town, and my family moved to West Germany when I was two — unfortunately before I was able to perfect my English and surfing skills. My working life started early as a drummer and manager of a band, and I was heading for a career in the music business. However, after citing “musical differences,” I took what I’d learned about selling creative output and went to study the history of media.
During this time, I researched the social changes sparked by media developments, and graduated with an understanding that brands and companies would have to communicate in new ways in order to adapt to the emergence of new forms of consumption and interaction.
In 2000, I joined an interactive agency as a creative — just in time for the dot-com crash. However, the economic crisis changed some things for the better and the Internet slowly started to fulfil expectations. I became an account director on Fiat, and then moved to Bassier, Bergmann & Kindler to work with Porsche. Continuing to challenge classic agencies, I started on Porsche as concept lead and, in 2006, went on to become chief executive officer.
Two years later, Razorfish beckoned and I haven’t looked back. I joined as managing director in Berlin, and later became an executive client partner for Audi Germany — a true change-driver.
In 2013, I had the privilege of becoming CEO of Razorfish Germany, where I'm responsible for almost 200 employees across our Frankfurt and Berlin offices. I’m excited to explore new ways of working together and changing our clients’ businesses for the better.
Chris Mellish Chief Executive Officer, Razorfish London
"I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most renowned brands in the world — at the epicenter of technology, media and creativity — across every industry sector and in multiple European countries."
When I left university with an honors degree in computer science there was really only one career path I could imagine taking (besides my rather unrealistic dream of becoming a professional snowboarder). I wanted to be right at the heart of the most exciting industry — digital. I had a feeling technology was the future. I had no idea how right I would turn out to be.
My first role after university was with an entrepreneurial tech startup in London called DNA. Fifteen years later that one-room studio has grown into an industry-leading, full-service digital marketing agency of more than 250 people: Razorfish London.
I too have grown: from account executive to managing partner to CEO. In those 15 years, I have moved through the agency and gained firsthand knowledge of all areas of digital, from the development of business-critical platforms through to the creation of immersive, award-winning creative campaigns. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most renowned brands in the world — at the epicenter of technology, media and creativity — across every industry sector and in multiple European countries.
In addition to leading Razorfish London I also serve on the VivaKi UK Board. Away from work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and two young sons. We’re looking forward to teaching them to snowboard too.
Tim Perlstein Chief Strategy Officer
“I’m perversely attracted to businesses and organizations undergoing extreme disruption — which is good, because these days that’s pretty much all of them.”
I learned to program on an Atari 400, with a membrane keyboard and external audio tape deck for data storage. In high school, I played cello in the orchestra and bass in a rock band. While at Harvard, I studied art history and watched a lot of hockey. In retrospect, it seems obvious I would end up in an organization whose hallmarks are diversity, adaptability and experimentation.
My first job after college was at DDB Needham in New York, where I coded HTML, wrote banner ads and wore a lot of black. Then, I moved to L.A. and spent four years sitting in traffic and honing my marketing skills while working with a range of great brands and organizations at the height of the first dot-com boom. Eventually, I drove north to earn my MBA from Stanford, which transformed me from a “poet” into a fairly hard core data-and-economics guy — but, at heart I’m still a writer, gadget geek and all-around humanities buff.
I joined Razorfish in 2008, after holding multiple marketing and product management roles at Knight Ridder Digital and Yahoo!. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work in depth across a range of industries, including financial services, technology, retail, telecom, media, travel and hospitality, consumer goods and more. I’ve discovered that I’m perversely attracted to businesses and organizations undergoing extreme disruption — which is good, because these days that’s pretty much all of them.
In my role as chief strategy officer, I’m focused on guiding the constant evolution of our diverse service offerings, strategic partnerships and global growth initiatives. Two things get me out of bed in the morning: the chance to solve difficult problems, and to work with talented, passionate colleagues. Happily, Razorfish and its clients provide unlimited opportunities to do both.
When not in the office, you can find me at home in Austin, hanging out with my wife and son — eating tacos, playing soccer or strategizing about our next family vacation.
Alicia Shankland Chief Talent Officer
"For the most part, the secret of innovation is to stay out of the way of talented employees. Give people the freedom, resources and knowledge to create great work and they will."
I started out as a reporter. I love meeting people, learning their stories and writing something that makes people do, think or feel differently. A professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism once told me “curiosity is the beginning of any good story,” and that I had enough to fuel a career. While I made a career change after getting my MBA, curiosity remains at the heart of what I do.
What compels people to do their best work? What makes them love their jobs? Those are questions we all want answered — for ourselves and for our organizations. As a leader in human resources, that’s the story I am after.
I lucked out and joined some high-tech companies in their infancies right after graduate school. I listened to early wireless and Internet visionaries predict just how ubiquitous and essential to our everyday lives both our phones and the Web would become; this was back when we had to work really hard to sell a cell phone or an Internet subscription. It was magic being part of companies responsible for developing technology that has dramatically changed our daily lives. The spark was in the people who continued to create, develop, experiment and celebrate each advancement.
For the most part, the secret of innovation is to stay out of the way of talented employees. Give people the freedom, resources and knowledge to create great work and they will. At Razorfish, it’s fun to watch teams make the leap from a brief to a pitch to a digital experience that wows clients and their customers. That’s our magic.
My job is to help us hire, develop and retain the best in the industry. To do that, we work hard to offer a place where people can build careers. If you join Razorfish, you may work some long hours and spend too much time on an airplane, but you will develop new skills rapidly through exposure to great clients, smart colleagues and more development opportunities than you can imagine. If it sounds like the place for you, we’re hiring!
At home, I enjoy cooking, entertaining, and walks in the woods or on the beach with my husband, daughter and golden retriever. I occasionally do a little moonlighting as an adjunct faculty member and pro bono mediator for state-sponsored dispute resolution centers.
Pete Stein Global Chief Executive Officer
"Creating an environment where the best ideas can rise from the mosh pit is part art and part science — and always interesting."
I’ll never forget my first encounter with the Spyglass browser in 1995 — it was love at first sight. At the time, I was a business neophyte, but I knew with great certainty that it would create expansive opportunities. What energizes me now is that a whole new set of disruptive technologies are creating new opportunities for the businesses that are willing to embrace them.
As the Global CEO of Razorfish, my job is to create an environment where the best ideas can rise from our passionate and talented teams. I have always believed that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the best ideas can rise from the creative tension generated by bringing together many varied points of view. It’s part art and part science — and this thinking has been embedded into our DNA from day one.
Prior to becoming CEO, I was President of the agency’s East region, where I was fortunate to work with incredible brands including Mercedes-Benz USA, UNIQLO, Unilever’s Axe, Citibank, Starwood, T. Rowe Price and Ford Motor Company — brands that have all embraced winning through digital. I was responsible for driving Brand. New. Thinking.™ throughout the organization, as well as overseeing our Mobile and Social practices, both of which saw more than 35 percent growth year over year.
Throughout more than 20 years in the industry, my true passion — building an organization that thrives on giving our clients a competitive advantage by embracing digital — has remained constant. This is what makes a difference to our clients and their bottom lines, and helps businesses connect with their customers like never before.
And to think, it all started with a browser.
Rishad Tobaccowala Chair, Razorfish and DigitasLBi
"I provide strategic direction to the digital agencies, while also working to activate technology and build digital products through cross-agency collaboration."
I hold a dual role within Publicis Groupe, serving as both active Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at VivaKi — a global leader in digital advertising solutions — and Chair for leading digital agencies DigitasLBi and Razorfish.
At VivaKi, my team and I focus on incubating new ideas, approaches, partnerships and models for the next generation of data-driven marketing, storytelling, brand rethinking and the next two billion customers (China and India).
In order to achieve these goals, I am responsible for Emerging Opportunities and Partnerships for VivaKi/Publicis Groupe. Emerging Opportunities includes co-creating the future with startups (VivaKi Ventures), media companies (The Pool) and brands (Finch 15). Partnerships includes working closely with Publicis Corporate and the leadership of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and many other global technology platforms, as well as a range of ad-tech specialists (BlueKai, Medialets, Adelphic Mobile).
In my role as Razorfish/DigitasLBi Chair, I provide strategic direction to the digital agencies, while also working with VivaKi CEO Frank Voris to activate technology and build digital products for Publicis Groupe through cross-agency collaboration.
Over the course of my 30-year marketing career, I have worked across almost every area of the industry, including brand advertising, media, database, and direct and interactive marketing. As a pioneer in digital marketing, I helped create one of the first interactive groups and digital agencies 20 years ago, and have worked to launch a series of initiatives — such as groups focused on gaming, social, mobile and search engine marketing. I’ve been actively involved in incubating brands including Starcom IP, Play, Giant Step, SMG Search and Denuo. Along the way, Businessweek named me one of the top business leaders for my pioneering innovation, and TIME magazine dubbed me one of five “Marketing Innovators.”
I serve as a board member and advisor to a host of companies in the venture capital and startup space, including Greycroft Partners, Recyclebank, Abundant Venture Partners and Visible Measures. I am also the chairman of The Tobaccowala Foundation, which has helped over 12,000 people gain better access to health and education in India. I hold a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Bombay and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.
Ray Velez Global Chief Technology Officer
"The thing that keeps technology exciting is that it’s constantly changing and always fresh. That’s something I’ve always loved about this industry, and often it feels it’s growing at a faster pace every day."
When I wrote my first basic program on my Atari 800 I was hooked; I’ve been spending time with computers ever since. I studied computer science and philosophy at Boston University, looking to bring the answered and unanswered together. The thing that keeps technology exciting is that it’s constantly changing and always fresh. That’s something I’ve always loved about this industry, and often it feels it’s growing at a faster pace every day.
As global chief technology officer for Razorfish, I manage our capabilities in Web cross-platform technology architecture and development, and oversee all our technologists. A core part of this role involves looking to the community for collaboration, and I’m consistently amazed by technologies like good-old message boards and wikis. (In fact, I was fortunate to help Razorfish build our internal, award-winning wiki.)
I’ve been in the industry for close to 20 years, previously at Cambridge Technology Partners and Scient. My professional experience in the application development life cycle, from inception to rollout, led to my work with clients ranging from Citibank to Ford Motor Company to the National Football League. Most recently, I was CTO in Razorfish’s role as incubation partner for Bundle, a personal finance startup. I also enjoy training and creating curriculums, and recently led the development of the Razorfish Agile Process.
Anything outdoors is my passion, whether biking, skiing or hiking with the family. Over the years I’ve enjoyed mountain bike and ski racing, and was fortunate to ride across Costa Rica in La Ruta de Los Conquistadores. I also find the DIY culture very inspiring; I’m looking forward to hacking some Arduino with my kids someday soon.
Esther Yang Chief Executive Officer, China
"If there’s one thing that can be said about China, it’s that it rewards those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a thirst for navigating change."
If there’s one thing that can be said about China, it’s that it rewards those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a thirst for navigating change. There’s no place where that’s more apparent than where I’ve made my home for the last decade: the area where digital technology, media and the consumer meet.
Hailing originally from California, I spent six years getting media managing experience in South Korea, then moved to Beijing to establish planning and buying for Mindshare’s Samsung Electronics global account. From there, I became the national general manager for GroupM Interaction – a joint venture with Hylink Advertising – and was charged with helping them build their operations from the ground up across China.
Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and particularly fascinated by the convergence between advertising and data, I jumped from agencies to technology platforms, founding UniQlick in 2010 to help advertisers execute smarter digital campaigns in China. At UniQlick, I transformed user behavior tracking technology into useful tools for gaining insight on digital consumers. I worked in every area, from developing UniQlick’s software-as-a-service (SAAS) business model around real-time-bidding technology to leading strategic product development to winning new business, including local and MNC clients, and their agency partners.
I’m excited to continue my story with Razorfish, a company that’s endlessly inventive, constantly curious and still relentlessly results-oriented – all characteristics that are necessary to meet the unique business challenges in China.