WASHINGTON, DC—John Bell, the digital specialist credited with leading the successful rollout of [email protected], is leaving for a senior marketing role at Travelers Insurance.
A 13-year Ogilvy veteran, Bell built the the firm's initial 360 Digital Influence group around a decade ago, before transforming it into the multidisciplinary [email protected] offering in 2012.
Bell served as global managing director at [email protected], which now has more than 740 employees working across 35 markets. Earlier this year, the unit was named Best Digital Consultancy in the World by the Holmes Report, after growing at around 35 percent during the previous 12 months.
He relocates from Washington DC to Connecticut to become VP of enterprise digital marketing at Travelers Insurance, and will leave Ogilvy at the end of this month.
Ogilvy PR global CEO Chris Graves confirmed the news and noted that, due to [email protected]'s cross-disciplinary status, he will consult with a wide range of Ogilvy leaders, across different businesses and regions, before deciding on how best to fill Bell's role.
"It’s a great catalyst for us to review everything," said Graves. "It is the fastest-growing part of our company so there is no letting up on it."
"John has been amazing," added Graves. He’s been an industry leader by far, and with substance, rather than a phony guru. One of the things he did do well was grow a lot of bench depth — so we don’t have to panic."
Bell was not immediately available for comment. At Travelers, he will report to Lisa Caputo, executive vice president of marketing and communications.
“John is one of the great innovators in the digital marketing space,” said Caputo. “We are delighted to have him on our team as we work to establish a high-impact digital marketing presence that will support and build our brand, and broaden our reach to customers and agents.”
Separately, Ogilvy PR global tech head Luca Penati is taking on a new role as managing director of content and social at [email protected], overseeing the practice across Ogilvy West, which includes San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Denver.
Penati has spent eight years leading Ogilvy’s tech practice, including leading its LG-One business. Ogilvy PR does not plan to replace the global tech role and the practice will, instead, be led by regional heads who report into their local CEO.
This includes Amy Messenger in the US, Carla Meneghini for Latin America, Kelly Hall and Julia Simmer for Europe, Mark Jackson for the Middle East and Africa and Cherry Velvarde for Asia-Pacific.
Penati now reports to Ogilvy PR Western region head Nathan Friedman. Penati said he will focus on storytelling and and content that ultimately changes attitudes and behavior, drawing upon the POEM acronym for paid, owned and earned media.
“There is no more exciting time than now that to offer solutions that respond to the challenges of this new converged media world we are living in it,” he adds.