VMLY&R strengthens EMEA leadership team with key promotions

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VMLY&R today announced the promotions of Dr Andreas Ortner to Chief Connections Officer EMEA and Ann French to Executive Director of Growth for Europe as part of its EMEA growth trajectory.

Andreas Ortner

In the new role, Ortner will be responsible for driving the growth VMLY&R’s Connections Planning practice across key European markets. 

Connections Planning is VMLY&R’s proprietary audience-first, data-driven planning approach to creating impactful brand and customer experiences across digital and physical channels.

Following Human Centred Design (HCD) principles, the VMLY&R Connections practice helps brands increase the value of each customer interaction and create clear differentiators which drive sustainable business growth. 

As part of this, Ortner will leverage a broad team of data analysts, planners, and connections strategists spread across the region, including a core team in the London flagship office.

Ortner takes the position from inside the VMLY&R network where he was UK Managing Director Strategy, leading Connections Strategy across global clients including Boots and No7 Beauty Company. 

At VMLY&R, he has led transformation programs across several industries, like CHC, FMCG, Automotive, Retail and Financial Services. 

Prior to that, Ortner spent over a decade in Management Consulting, including Deloitte Digital and Accenture Interactive. He holds a PhD in Economics and an MS in Marketing Management.

Ann French

In a key promotion, French will lead the growth teams across the region and be responsible for driving the agency’s momentum, unlocking business opportunities with current and new clients.

Taking over from Emma Storer, who recently left the agency, French takes the position from inside the VMLY&R network where she was EMEA Managing Director, leading client engagement teams and helping to accelerate capability expansion. 

Over the past decade, French has led some of VMLY&R’s biggest global clients, such as No7 Beauty Company, Colgate, and Sanofi, delivering innovative work that drives business results.

Both will report to Andrew Dimitriou, EMEA CEO, with Andreas also working closely with Amy Worley, Global Chief Connections Officer, and Ann working with UK co-CEO’s Michelle Whelan and Justin Pahl.

VMLY&R has been going from strength to strength in EMEA, launching new practices like the Inclusion Experience, growing headcount to reach 4633 and seeing remarkable growth with new clients such as Bayer, Vodafone, Coca-Cola, iRobot and more. 

The agency is building on its breadth and depth of capabilities to connect brand and customer experience with commerce and drive growth for its clients.

Andreas Ortner, Chief Connections Officer, EMEA, said: “”I couldn’t be more excited by this new challenge, and I cannot wait to help more clients effectively connect with their consumers to drive sustainable business growth.”

Ann French, Executive Director of Growth for Europe, said: “I’m thrilled to see our growth team making strides across Europe. 

“I fundamentally believe in the power of creativity to unlock business growth for and with our clients.  I can’t wait to see what we will achieve together.”

CEO Dimitriou said of Ortner’s promotion: “Our Proprietary Connections Planning offer enables clients to see a unique media agnostic view of moments that matter along consumer journeys. 

“Under Andy’s stewardship it has been growing exponentially. Clients are interested in the strategic view this practice offers, and Andy is the perfect ambassador to strengthen the practice.”

Commenting on French’s new role, he said: “Ann’s client stewardship and proven track record of driving organic growth will enable us to build further on the momentum we’ve experienced in Europe over the last 18 months. I am delighted that more of our teams will work closely with her as she is also an exceptional person and leader.”