Carat Names First Chief Digital Officer

Dentsu Aegis Network’s media agency, Carat, has hired JiYoung Kim as its first-ever chief digital officer.

In the role, Kim will be tasked with leading and continuing to expand Carat’s digital capabilities and expertise across mobile, performance, OTT, digital audio, AI and other areas.

She will shape Carat’s approach to all digital strategy and execution in the U.S. market while working closely with the agency’s client leadership teams to identify client and partner opportunities, help deliver work across Carat’s client portfolio, and drive partnership and integration among Dentsu Aegis Network’s digital partners to further capabilities in the areas of search, social, programmatic and data.

Kim begins the role immediately, reporting directly to U.S. CEO Angela Steele, who succeeded Michal Epstein in that role at the start of the year after Epstein took on the role of global CEO last June.

Steele explained that the new role was born out of client needs.

“It is more important than ever to have digital specialists, like Ji, at the helm, who bring together the breadth and depth of digital expertise. This role is intended to set the vision for the intersection of data and tech within our agency—especially where clients need more depth of expertise such as ecommerce, programmatic and data-fueled addressable media,” she said, adding that “Ji’s direct client responsibilities and impact on Carat’s client work” set her role apart from that of other chief digital officers.

Kim joins Carat from Reprise, where she most recently served as chief client officer. Earlier in her career, she spent seven years at Ansible Mobile, before leaving her role as svp of creative solutions and strategy to join UM to lead mobile strategy.

“Ji has always been at the forefront of what’s next. She was a mobile expert before smartphones existed; she was a performance media pioneer and saw the value in people-based marketing years before holding companies started making data acquisitions,” Steele said. “Most importantly, Ji understands the value of broad business strategy first, and that is the foundation for the way she addresses clients’ digital needs.”

In starting her role during the coronavirus pandemic, Kim noted that the agency was already seeing major shifts as a result.

“We already know from our own data that major trends we’ve been following, such as the shift in attention from traditional to digital channels and rise of ecommerce, are going to accelerate as short-term pandemic behaviors transition to long-term ingrained ones,” she said. “It’s our job to bring what we thought was a future state to present-day action: the way we surface people-based insights, implications to planning, and projected impact to our clients’ bottom lines.”

She said that Carat was prepared for these challenges because of its investments in data, as well as the “value we place on attention over exposure.”

“So, despite the chaos, I can’t help feeling optimistic about being at Carat at this moment,” she added.

The move follows Carat naming Peter Vandre as its first chief analytics officer less than two months ago. Epstein also received yet another promotion when he was named CEO of Dentsu Media products and services last month.

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