Independent global media agency Crossmedia has hired Christine Merrifield-Wehrle as its first head of investment.
Her purview extends to overseeing all agency spend and media partnerships, optimizing cost efficiencies and creating innovative media opportunities for clients. She manages Crossmedia’s activation team of over 100 employees, One Marketplace+. Merrifield-Wehrle began the role in January and reports to Crossmedia CEO Kamran Asghar.
Crossmedia has long prioritized transparency, Asghar told Agency Spy. The agency abides by a written set of standards and principles and has been audited by a third party to make sure it meets those standards.
Transparency is something that clients have deemed of increasing importance in recent years. Following the Association of National Advertisers’ 2016 allegations of agency kickback schemes, media agencies in particular have been under scrutiny.
The introduction of Merrifield-Wehrle as head of investment will solidify Crossmedia’s commitment to transparency. Merrifield-Wehrle comes to Crossmedia from media and marketing consultancy Ebiquity, where she was a managing director. In that role, she ran the procurement process for the consultancy and counseled marketers on their investments.
“Christine brings a level of sophistication and expertise that is unparalleled—her multi-faceted experience is unique and she has the tenacity to make things happen,” said Asghar in a statement. “Too many agencies look at head of investment through the narrow lens of optimizing buying clout and margin management. Christine’s role is more visionary, less yield management.”
Before Ebiquity, Merrifield-Wehrle held senior roles at Warner Media and ran investment and activation at Mediavest (now Spark Foundry), giving her a deep understanding of the challenges facing both marketers and agencies.
“I’m very fortunate to have an opportunity to have seen the ins and outs of the holding companies, to have seen how those companies operate when it comes to the auditing process. And, quite frankly, seen the good actors and the bad actors,” Merrifield-Wehrle told Adweek.
Merrifield-Wehrle is excited to join Crossmedia at a time when transparency is front and center once again with the continuation of walled gardens, measurement options beyond Nielsen and more, she said. The new investment role is extremely unique, she added, because candidates with her background flock to other media consultancies or to operational roles within agency holding companies.
“Kamran and his team were clear eyed and very ahead of the curve leaning into me, because this is not the norm,” she said.