Digital people on the move: Google’s search head retires

The past month has been filled with big management changes at Twitter, Taco Bell, PayPal, Havas Worldwide, DigitasLBi and Google.

2016 is in full swing and so are the moves around the industry. We’ve rounded them up for you below. 

AmitGoogle’s search head Amit Singhal will retire

As Google’s senior vice president of search, Amit Singhal is an influential engineer at the company.  He announced on Google+ that he would leave Google on February 26.

Singhal joined Google in 2000 as the company’s No.176 employee. His Google career started with rewriting initial algorithms developed by Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Over 15 years at Google, Singhal has been involved in the search giant’s major projects to make it an engineering powerhouse.

After Singhal retires, John Giannandrea, who is vice president of engineering and currently working on artificial intelligence at Google, will take over.

LeslieLeslie Berland moves from American Express to Twitter

With four top executives leaving the company, Twitter named Leslie Berland its first-ever chief marketing officer (CMO). In her new role, Berland is tasked with getting users to understand Twitter and convincing more advertisers to buy ads on the platform.

Prior to this new hire, Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer, was overseeing the company’s marketing in an interim fashion.

At a glance, Berland, former executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and digital partnerships at American Express, is an exciting addition to Twitter.

For starters, she has built connections with marketing heads at major brands as American Express provides those companies payment services. In addition, Berland’s financial marketing expertise could help Twitter develop its own payment business, an area where the social network has been looking to make a big play.  

Twitter is a popular social network but the company has had a difficult time improving its finances. We hope that Berland and Jack Dorsey can turn the business around soon.

Marisa ThalbergMarisa Thalberg promoted to be Taco Bell’s new CMO

Taco Bell has promoted Marisa Thalberg to replace Chris Brandt as the brand’s new CMO, where she will be in charge of the chain’s product and brand marketing, as well as consumer engagement.

Thalberg started her career as account executive at Saatchi and Saatchi.

Before she joined Taco Bell in 2015 as the company’s first chief brand engagement officer, she served as vice president of corporate digital and content marketing worldwide for The Estee Lauder Companies for eight years, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Outside of work, Thalberg also founded Executive Moms, an organization that provides working moms with peer support and resources.

Wences CasaresBitcoin startup entrepreneur Wences Casares joins PayPal’s board

Wences Casares, chief executive officer of bitcoin wallet provider Xapo, is the newest member of PayPal’s board.

A technology and finance veteran, Casares is expected to bring his entrepreneurial experience in alternative currency to PayPal, helping the platform capitalize on the cryptocurrency market.

“Wences’ unique line of sight into the future of commerce is ideally aligned with PayPal’s vision of transforming the management and movement of money for people around the globe,” Dan Schulman, president and chief executive (CEO) of PayPal, said in a prepared company statement.

We are looking forward to seeing more cryptocurrency-focused effort from PayPal.

Funk_SchoefflerTwo key hires at Havas Worldwide in Europe

Havas Worldwide appointed Thomas Funk as its managing director of Europe and Eric Schoeffler as European executive creative director.

Funk will oversee the agency’s regional operations, looking after the expansion of new services.

Prior to Havas, Funk spent around five years at DDB Group Germany where he served as CEO. Before that, he was CEO of RAPP Germany and managing director of Wunderman.

Schoeffler, on the other hand, will spearhead creative delivery for clients and work closely with creative executives around the globe. Schoeffler had been working for DDB for the past 17 years, with the last five as chief creative officer for DDB Group Germany. He was also a member of the Global Creative Council at DDB Worldwide.

Steve_SwansonSteve Swanson joins DigitasLBi as senior vice president and managing director of Atlanta

DigitasLBi named Steve Swanson senior vice president and managing director of Atlanta. Swanson will lead the agency’s regional operations and client relationships, as well as oversee new business initiatives.

He will be based in Atlanta and will directly report to Joanne Zaiac, president of New York and Atlanta.

Swanson joins DigitasLBi from Definition 6 where he served as managing director. Before that, he ran accounts, marketing, and sales at Moxie, part of the Publicis Groupe network.

Throughout his career, Swanson has worked with a wide range of brands, including Verizon, Georgia Pacific, Nestle and Coca-Cola.

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