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WPP Fellow Tom Richardson Joins Digitaria as Head of Digital Product Innovation

British Invasion Also Includes JWT London’s Creator of JWTeach, “Apprentice” Star
Oct 18, 2012

In the latest sign of digital marketing and technology agency Digitaria’s increasing influence inside the WPP network of marketing and communications firms, WPP Fellow Tom Richardson has chosen the JWT company for his final placement, establishing a new role at the agency as Head of Digital Product Innovation.

Richardson, 28, met with agencies in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, but ultimately chose Digitaria as his third stop in the elite three-year WPP Marketing Fellowship program. His arrival at Digitaria follows rotations at Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai and The Futures Company in London, where he worked with multinational clients including Unilever, Coca-Cola, The North Face and Vodafone.

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome Tom to Digitaria,” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Khabie, to whom Richardson will report, in tandem with agency COO/President Doug Hecht. “Digital Product Innovation -- the development of digital products in partnership with clients to help create experiences people want -- has become an integral part of Digitaria’s evolution, and will be increasingly critical to any forward-thinking digital marketing relationship.”

As Head of Digital Product Innovation, Richardson will work closely with Khabie to develop a new source of revenue based upon building products from scratch to address clients’ business opportunities. In a break from the traditional agency project model, these products will generate revenue through licensing, with much of the initial investment put up by Digitaria itself. He will also become Digitaria’s point-of-contact with the broader WPP Group network, identifying opportunities to license products to WPP Group companies, or working in conjunction with WPP companies to pitch the Group’s clients.

“Digitaria isn’t the kind of agency to wait to be told what its future will be; it’s already decided for itself,” said Richardson. “It took about five minutes with Dan to realise that he has a crystal clear ambition for the agency’s future in digital products, and it’s a privilege to be responsible for that ambition. Success will mean creating products that turn into new businesses, both for our clients and for Digitaria.”

The WPP Marketing Fellowship is an international management training programme designed to develop future leaders of WPP companies. Each year, WPP recruits 10 new Fellows from a pool of around 2,000 applicants, each of whom is assigned a member of the WPP Board for career guidance. The Fellowship is comprised of three one-year rotations through WPP companies. There are currently Fellows on every continent, working in almost every discipline within WPP.

Additionally, Rachel Gigli, another British import, last month joined Digitaria as account director, working on the agency’s Petco and Royal Caribbean accounts. Ms. Gigli crossed the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast from  JWT London, where she was account director for Johnson & Johnson’s Listerine mouthwash product. She has also worked for BMW and Wunderman in the UK, where she managed the Jaguar account.  Ms. Gigli is perhaps best known for her appearance on England’s version of the television reality series “The Apprentice,” in which she participated to help bring exposure for JWTeach, an initiative she launched to inspire and motivate underprivileged children. She speaks fluent French and Russian, and has lived in both language’s native countries.