CHICAGO - VivaKi CEO Jack Klues today announced that Kurt Unkel has been named president of the VivaKi Nerve Center. Unkel assumes responsibilities from Curt Hecht, who moves to a new role at The Weather Channel. Unkel will report into Frank Voris, global chief financial officer for VivaKi. Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer of VivaKi, will serve as advisor to Unkel and the Nerve Center leadership.
Prior to assuming the role of president, Unkel had been EVP/general manager of Audience on Demand™ (AOD) - one of the Nerve Center’s fastest growing practices. Today the practice services 350+ clients and manages over 15,000 daily campaigns across display, search, video, mobile and social.
Unkel has been a member of Publicis Groupe for more than a decade and among the Nerve Center’s first employees. Prior to joining the Nerve Center, Unkel created and led digital strategy, investment, analytics and ad operations teams across Publicis Groupe, with a special focus on General Motors (GM). Unkel resides in Detroit and will be based there.
“Curt Hecht has built a strong foundation for the VivaKi Nerve Center, and Kurt Unkel is just the right person to drive our vision forward,’ said Klues. “Kurt has shown great leadership in building and developing AOD from one of the first agency-led ad trading platforms with two clients and three employees to a world-class practice that has been replicated in markets all over the world, and leads the competition.”
“The Nerve Center is comprised of some of the sharpest minds in digital and tech,” said Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy. “With Kurt at the helm, we look forward to more aggressively pursuing new opportunities in arenas such as data, mobile, social and technology.”
Unkel and the Nerve Center are supported by a seasoned leadership team, including Doug Kofoid, who is EVP of product development. Kofoid is an operations expert and co-author of several Nerve Center products, including AOD Social. The Nerve Center will leverage his expertise more broadly across the globe in the coming months.
Sean Kegelman has been named EVP of partnerships, and will continue to lead global partnerships and create new opportunities with companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook and others for the Nerve Center and the VivaKi agencies it supports.
Marco Bertozzi has been elevated to executive managing director of Nerve Center EMEA, focusing on continued expansion of the Nerve Center throughout the region. Co-founder of The Pool, Tracey Scheppach will continue to explore engagement models of the future while serving as EVP/innovations director for VivaKi.
The Nerve Center leadership team also includes Pradeep Ananthapadmanabhan, who continues to serve as chief technology officer for the Nerve Center and Project Olympic; Ken Wiesman, who leads Finance and Barb Jobs, who continues to lead Talent
The Nerve Center was formed in 2008 to provide tools, technology and offerings that give VivaKi agencies and their clients an edge when it comes to digital media and marketing solutions. The Nerve Center currently employees more than 250 employees worldwide, with a presence in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.
About VivaKi Nerve Center
The VivaKi Nerve Center is the world’s largest research and development (R&D) center dedicated to building new technologies and approaches that connect brands with their customers in today’s digital world. With increased media fragmentation, the Nerve Center is focused on developing tools, technology and partnerships to help VivaKi clients effectively reach and engage their consumers “across screens” and throughout all stages of the consumer purchase funnel. By centralizing resources into one R&D operation, the Nerve Center harnesses the collective strength of VivaKi’s global scale, which aggregates the marketplace influence of four autonomous brands?ZenithOptimedia, Starcom MediaVest Group, Digitas and Razorfish.
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