Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, has announced key global appointments in support of its objective to fortify its position as the global leader in customer experience transformation. Holden Bale has joined Merkle as global head of its Experience & Commerce practice, Matt Naeger has been named Merkle’s global chief strategy officer, and has added the role of global chief marketing officer to his remit, and Owen McCorry has been named global chief growth officer. These appointments are designed to further dentsu’s mission to help brands win, keep, and grow their best customers across the entire customer journey, through radical collaboration across its One dentsu strategy.
In 2022, Merkle took a number of planned actions to strengthen and expand its client portfolio, strategic partnerships, and commerce capabilities, while also growing its staff and geographic footprint, both organically and through three global acquisitions. These latest global executive appointments will bolster those efforts and pave the way for growth in an increasingly commerce-led marketing ecosystem.
Merkle formally announced the creation of its Experience and Commerce practice in 2022. The formation of the group completed a multi-year strategy and investment plan that brought together agencies from around the world, including Isobar, LiveArea, DEG, and HelloWorld, to transform Merkle’s customer experience capabilities and offer brands a platform for international scale. The global team of more than 3,500 experts, situated across UX, experience design, technology, commerce strategy and operations, digital messaging, loyalty, and promotions, is supported by 14,000 technologists, strategists, and analysts globally.
As the global lead for this practice, Bale will partner with regional leaders, marketing, data, and analytics teams, and technology partners to evolve Merkle’s market vision and practice strategy for experience and commerce. He will work with key clients on their most pressing challenges and define compelling solutions and innovative products for this vital service line. Crucial to Bale’s success in this role will be the seamless integration of teams and resources from related acquisitions, coming together to achieve sustainable performance goals and retain shared client relationships.
Bale joins Merkle from IPG agency Huge, a design and customer experience firm, where he led a global commerce practice, overseeing all B2B and B2C offerings, client work, marketing, research programs, and partnerships. Prior to Huge, Bale held leadership roles at ThoughtWorks, Accenture Strategy, and boutique management consultancy Kurt Salmon.
“I am proud to be a part of Merkle’s Experience & Commerce practice and the broader Merkle and dentsu family, which includes some of the best data scientists, marketers, media minds, industry experts, and operators in the world,” said Bale. “The next several years will be dynamic – not just at a macroeconomic level, but in how individuals interact with technology and AI and what we expect from the brands we choose to do business with. The future of user experience won’t be about physical vs. digital or content vs. commerce, but about delivering on promises made and building connections that are more than transactional. I look forward to being a true global partner to our clients in developing those end-to-end relationships with consumers.”
Merkle veteran Naeger, who previously served as chief strategy officer for Merkle Americas, has been appointed global chief strategy officer as well as global chief marketing officer. As the CSO Naeger will lead the integration of Merkle’s strategy and consulting services across its three primary regions, working closely with the Merkle and dentsu leadership teams to define and execute the business strategy and continue to evolve the customer experience space. As CMO, Naeger will lead the development of global marketing and PR strategies that will bolster the Merkle brand and leadership position within the customer experience marketplace. He will work closely across the business and with regional CMOs in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC, to build expanded capabilities and solutions that will drive results for Merkle’s clients worldwide.
McCorry is also a longtime Merkle leader who previously held the position of chief growth officer for Merkle Americas. He has assumed the global chief growth officer role in mid-2022, taking the helm of the company’s growth team across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. McCorry will be responsible for the development and execution of the growth strategy and the creation of Merkle’s global growth platform – bringing sales, client management, solutioning, and sales enablement together. He will also have a strong focus on Merkle’s global alliances, forging close relationship and differentiated value propositions with the company’s key technology partners.
“Over the past year, Merkle has navigated challenging headwinds to strengthen our client portfolio and make strategic investments in our talent bench and capability portfolio,” said Michael Komasinski, global CEO for Merkle. “By starting off 2023 with these global appointments, we have tapped into the proven expertise of some of the industry’s most accomplished leaders, setting the stage for continued success in 2023. Holden, Matt, and Owen have the knowledge, experience, and leadership qualities necessary to inspire the team at Merkle to innovate, grow, and most importantly, serve our clients with solutions that will drive competitive advantage.”