LONDON — PR and creative agency Smarts has appointed its first European CEO, Greg Jones, as the business seeks to expand across the Continent.

Jones (pictured, left) joins Smarts from Mischief, the consumer communications arm of MHP Mischief, where he has spent more than six years, first as creative director, and, since 2019, as managing director. Under Jones’ leadership, Mischief added brands including Three, Sky, Shaftesbury, Ocado, Johnson & Johnson, VW and ITV to its client roster.

Before joining Mischief, Jones was managing partner at Shine Communications, and has also been a creative associate at Splendid, a director at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment and the co-founder and creative partner of PR shop Glass Jar.

He will be replaced at Mischief by Charlotte Brooks (pictured, right), who is promoted into the position after four years as a director at the agency, leading client relationships including E.ON, Seven Dials and Three, and building the agency’s digital, influencer and performance capabilities. Brooks was previously a director at The Academy and House PR.

MHP Mischief CEO Alex Bigg said: “Charlotte was the natural choice. She combines passion, vision and outstanding client counsel. Most importantly, she is a great leader and has an exciting plan for the future development of the Mischief brand. It is testament to the strength of the team that we were able to make this key appointment by promoting from within. I’m grateful to Greg for the great work he did to drive the integration of MHP and Mischief, steer his team through Covid and attract great talent and brands.”

At Smarts, Jones will be based in London and focus on growth in the UK and mainland Europe, as well as building out the agency’s specialisms in creative, strategy, earned media, content creation and social activity.

He told PRovoke Media: “I absolutely loved Mischief, it was home for nearly seven years and I had an amazing time with a great bunch of people, but it was time for a new challenge. Smarts hasn’t been on everyone’s radar but I love the work and the agency’s vision, and there’s a brilliant story to be told. We’re looking to grow into new markets – we do a lot of global work and it makes sense to have another hub in Europe as well as London, so we’re looking at a number of possibilities.”

Smarts, which returned a 55% rise in revenue last year, is headquartered in Belfast, with offices in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and New York. The agency has more than 140 employees worldwide, with clients including Diageo, Bosch and Zalando.

Jones will report to global CEO Pippa Arlow, who said: “This is a huge milestone in Smarts’ history. For more than 20 years we’ve been telling engaging stories that make brands famous, changing thinking and behaviours. Following a period of huge success we want to build on this momentum further by accelerating growth across our European business, and in Greg we’ve found an experienced, driven leader who shares our passion in using creativity to bring big ideas to life.”

As part of his new remit, Jones will play a role in deeper integration within MSQ, the creative and technology group that owns Smarts, working with Peter Reid, MSQ’s group chief executive.

Reid said: “Smarts’ creativity and culture has sat at the heart of MSQ’s rise over the past few years, and will continue to play an integral role as we deliver on our ambitious strategy of becoming one of the world’s most valuable creative and technology companies. The Smarts leadership team is already one of the best in the business and bringing Greg into the fold gives us even more firepower to take a thriving business to the next level.”

As well as Smarts, MSQ’s other agencies are: creative production studio Brave Spark;  branding and design agency Elmwood; research and insights consultancy Freemavens; web and digital product specialist MMT Digital Smarts; CRM and customer engagement firm MBAstack; B2B marketer Stein IAS; creative and media agency The Gate; full-service media agency Walk-In Media; and digital agency Twentysix. The group employs more than 1,100 people across 13 global offices, and almost 100 senior employees are shareholders.