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November 30, 2023 | By Jessica Heygate

EXCLUSIVE: Omnicom’s data and analytics division has devised a client support strategy after nearly doubling in size in the past year.

Annalect, the data and analytics division of Omnicom, has hired Lauren Walker in a new role as chief client solutions officer to better support clients as the company expands.
The chief client solutions officer role was devised at the end of 2022 to help Annalect deliver more “consistent” and “unified” support to clients as the scope of its projects grew, according to chief experience officer Clarissa Season.

Previously, client engagements would be led by Annalect’s specialist leaders most aligned with the scope of the brief, such as its chief analytics officer or chief technology officer. But leadership decided this was not a scalable model as Annalect went from “having a handful of clients with small engagements to a lot of clients with big engagements,” Season said.

“We cannot have our CTO also looking at delivering client work because they need to be setting the strategy for our technology,” she said.

“With that in mind, we had to set ourselves up for the future and put in place a client support and solutions organization that is consistent and unified behind a really dynamic person who can not only make sure that we deliver clients what we promise, but also is constantly looking for those solutions and innovations that will help to drive their business forward,” she added.

Annalect has almost doubled in size in the past year, going from 2,800 employees at the end of 2022 to nearly 5,000 by the close of this year, Season said. Omnicom has tasked Annalect with quadrupling in size over the next three years, she added.

Around three-quarters of Annalect’s staff are based in India, an offshore hub that is a growing priority for Omnicom Media Group to improve efficiency, global CEO Florian Adamski shared with Campaign US recently. The next largest chunk of around 600 staff sit across 36 markets in EMEA, followed by 400 in North America and 100 in Latin America.
The company devises data and analytics solutions for a portfolio of major brands across every category, including automotive, FMCG, luxury, pharmaceutical and technology.
Walker was considered an ideal candidate for the client leadership position due to her trifecta of experience at a consultancy, agency and brand.

She was most recently head of data and analytics for the U.K. and Ireland at Accenture Song. Previously, she was global head of digital transformation, sales and client solutions at Dentsu, and she spent a decade at IBM, including as the head of Europe data strategy, partnerships and business development.

“[Walker’s] consulting background was super appealing to us, because so much of what Annalect is doing starts off as a consulting project, and we’re often in a world where are going up against the consulting firms for a piece of business,” said Season.

Walker has been based in London since 2011 and will remain there in her new global role.

“I think that Lauren [Walker] being in London, in hindsight, is actually going to be a further unifying opportunity for us because now we will have somebody in a global position that is outside of the U.S.,” said Season.
Season said she first started talking to Walker about the role in January; she officially joined in November.
Season oversees human resources as part of her remit, and was responsible for designing and hiring for the chief client solutions officer role.

Walker reports to Annalect global CEO Slavi Samardzija.
She said in a statement her “priority will be to ensure that we are consistently bringing capacity to our clients’ data-driven marketing ambitions — activating the unique Annalect alchemy of insights, expertise and advanced technology to turn data assets into data solutions, and data solutions into business growth.”

In addition to Walker’s appointment, Annalect has expanded EMEA CEO Jon Ghazi’s role to include chief growth officer responsibilities globally and has named Andrea Freeman U.S. chief growth officer.

Annalect is also responsible for building and maintaining Omnicom’s data and analytics platform Omni, which offers Omnicom staff solutions across media planning, creative development, health and influencer capabilities.