LONDON — Golin has appointed its first UK group chief strategy officer, hiring Freuds former head of strategy Kat Arnull to drive growth at Golin and sister agency Virgo Health.

Arnull formally joins Golin after a 12-month period of consultancy at the agency, reporting to Ondine Whittington, who became group MD in March last year, and working with Paul Parton, Golin’s global chief strategy officer.

In her new role, Arnull will be responsible for working with the UK leadership to grow the agencies’ practices and offerings. She will lead the strategy team, an integrated data, analytics and planning function, and will help further embed The Playbook, the company’s data-driven strategic planning process, across all client work.

Arnull was at Freuds for 12 years, joining as a senior planner in 2007 and rising to director and head of strategy in 2015. She evolved the agency’s strategic function to incorporate digital and data analysis, worked alongside partner Julia Bainbridge to develop the health and behaviour change unit, and was the strategic lead on all government pitches.

Her work included the launch of UK government behaviour change campaigns Change4Life and Stoptober, leading the agency PR strategy for Asda and Sainsbury’s and working with PepsiCo and Mars. She is part of the Government Strategic and Evaluation Council and a mentor on the Fast Forward training scheme at NABS, the employee support organisation for the advertising and media industry.

Whittington said: “Kat’s brilliant thinking and depth of experience has already had such a positive impact on our client work and new business. Now more than ever we have the opportunity to drive forward the role of PR as a strategic and sophisticated partner to our clients to raise awareness of issues, drive new conversations and shift landscapes.

“We know there will continue to be a laser sharp focus on budgets and Kat’s eye will be keenly focused on how we use our planning tools to deliver outstanding creative campaigns that can be measured against hard commercial results.”

Arnull said: “The geek in me is over-the-moon to find an agency so dedicated to building campaigns from evidence but thankfully with the creative strength to continue striving for ideas that turn heads. I am a firm believer in an earned-approach and looking at the world outside-in, and what blows me away about Golin is that now we have the data to prove it. We’ve got big plans for 2021 which I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into.”

Other senior appointments at Golin this month include Claire Koeneman to lead the North American corporate communications practice, and Lindsay Peterson being named as its first Canada managing director.