Holmes Report 12 Aug 2014 // 5:02PM GMT
Weber Shandwick has brought on Lee Noonan, formerly of Havas Digital, as its first global chief technology officer, meanwhile also hiring Ogilvy’s Luca Penati as GM of its Bay Area offices and as the firm’s Western region content lead.
Updated to add: The Holmes Report has learned from several sources that global head of technology Tim Fry has left the agency after 18 years. Last year, he stepped into the role of global tech chair after three years as EVP of the Seattle office. Weber Shandwick has not yet commented on the reason for his departure or plans for his replacement.
Penati takes over for acting GM Bradford Williams who held the role for the past 18 months since Tony Hynes stepped down. Weber has regained momentum in the Bay Area over the past several months, bringing in clients like Ubisoft and Qualcomm. Its offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley — which operate as one P&L — are now thought to be somewhere between 60 to 70 people.
Williams will now turn his attention full-time to being president of Weber’s North American tech practice. Meanwhile, Penati takes on a dual role as the first Western region lead for Weber’s MediaCo content arm, overseeing this division across offices in the Bay Area, Seattle and Los Angeles. He starts in late September.
“I joined Weber because of it embraces innovation — but not for its own sake, it keeps the client at the center,” Penati says. “I’d like to bring that to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco market, because we are the center of innovation but [this market] can be very conservative when it comes to PR. There’s a gigantic opportunity to help companies move ahead in this area.”
Before joining Weber, Penati spent eight years leading Ogilvy’s tech practice, including leading its LG-One business. Last year, he moved into a new role as managing director of content and social for the Western region.
Noonan, meanwhile, will be based in New York and brings his background in enterprise software, Internet infrastructure and web application to both Weber’s internal technology developments and deployments — and to client-facing initiatives, like app development and website builds.
“We’ve always had a CTO as part of McCann but it’s new for us to add one specifically for the brand,” Weber president Gail Heimann says. “It reflects the type of work we’re doing and the direction that’s we’re moving. The challenge is not to adapt to the change, but to lead it. We’re doing that with bringing on both Lee and Luca.”Noonan reports to CMG chief information officer Craig Smith and Weber’s COO Frank Okunak. Penati reports to Weber president of North America Sara Gavin and global head of Mediaco Jason Wellcome. Featured image: Luca Penati