Maja Pawinska Sims 23 Apr 2020 // 11:36AM GMT
LONDON — AxiCom, WPP’s technology specialist communications agency, has appointed a new all-female leadership team in Europe and North America.
AxiCom UK managing director Kate Stevens (pictured, left) becomes the new EMEA president, stepping up after 13 years at the agency to fill the role formerly held by Henry Brake, who died suddenly in February after 20 years at the firm.
In her new role, Stevens will have 10 direct reports and will oversee AxiCom’s seven European offices in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden. She will continue in her current position while a new UK managing director is sought.
Stevens joined AxiCom – which was founded in London in 1994 – from sister WPP agency GCI. After initially managing AxiCom’s portfolio of B2B and telecoms clients, Stevens focused on ramping up its consumer technology practice area, leading key accounts including Dell, Microsoft, HMD Global (Nokia phones) and Google. She was appointed MD of the 50-strong team in London in 2017.
She told PRovoke: “It’s a bittersweet promotion, but Henry and I worked in each other’s pockets the whole time, and my options were to work with someone who didn’t necessarily understand that vision, or to take on the role myself.
“Inheriting this business in a global pandemic is on the one hand dreadful and on the other a huge opportunity – in times like this people’s true colours shine, and we are seeing phenomenal work from individuals and for clients. My short-term priority is to get through this, do the best for our clients and make sure all our people are supported throughout Europe.”
Stevens will be supported in her new role by European board member and AxiCom director Nick Head, who will step up into a new operational role as European managing director. Head will work directly with AxiCom’s European country managers to implement pan-European processes and drive integration across the firm’s offices, as well as continuing to work with key clients.
In the US, Katie Huang Shin (pictured, right) becomes the new regional president, responsible for spearhead the firm’s business strategy and growing North America operations. Huang Shin joins from WE Communications, where she was president, technology sector and chief strategy officer.
Before joining WE, Huang Shin held senior positions at Porter Novelli, FleishmanHillard, and Weber Shandwick. She said: “It is a great privilege to join AxiCom during this extraordinary period for our business and our industry. Technology companies are at the heart of our global economy, and how brands communicate their relevance, values, and commitments while showing their humility in an increasingly complex marketing and communications environment is pivotal.”
AxiCom’s previous US president, Emily Dunlop, left the firm in March to head up technology PR within Omnicom. Both Stevens and Huang Shin will continue to report into BCW within the WPP group.