VMLY&R Commerce is expanding its U.S. executive leadership team, promoting Michelle Baumann to chief strategy officer and Jacquelyn Baker to chief commerce experience officer, while Curt Munk moves into newly created role of chief innovation officer.
The appointments reflect the company’s commitment to creative commerce, focusing on growth through retail media, data, technology and innovation.
“The power in creative commerce has been realized globally, with commercial reality elevated to the forefront of clients’ growth priorities,” said Tyler Murray, chief executive officer, VMLY&R Commerce in a statement.
In her new role, Baumann, formerly evp marketing sciences, will align data, insights, strategy and measurement under a single leader. She retains responsibility of the agency’s data capability and bespoke tools, including its AI-enabled “X-Drive” approach to unlocking category growth. Prior to VMLY&R, Baumann worked in retail/commerce growth consulting at Kantar Retail and in commerce analytics at IRI.
“I am thrilled to lead a team of exceptional, cross-functional talent as we build a next gen strategy discipline,” Baumann told Adweek. “Our analysts and strategists will work hand in hand the same way an art director and copywriter would partner, starting with data to get to real whitespace opportunities and human truths for our clients.”
Baker, formerly an executive vice president, becomes the agency’s first chief commerce experience officer in a move to unite the company’s ecommerce and retail media capabilities. She will be responsible for leading retail media, further building VMLY&R Commerce’s offering, along with activating media at retail into consumer experience planning. She will continue to oversee Sygnl—a proprietary retail intimacy tool—and lead key commerce accounts including General Mills and Diageo. Her accolades include being named by Forbes and Fortune as a top Cincinnati business leader and receiving the Women of Excellence Innovator Award from Path to Purchase Institute.
“Having a distinct commerce experience planning practice is exciting as it allows us to combine our unparalleled knowledge of retailer ecosystems with our customer experience planning and retail media expertise—to help brands deliver world-class consumer experiences that convert at retail, regardless of channel,” Baker told Adweek.
Munk transitions from chief strategy officer to chief innovation officer with an eye toward the future for VMLY&R Commerce and its clients. A sought-after industry speaker on retail and tech trends, he will help guide on tools and capability development, connecting consumer behavior to commerce innovation to accelerate brand growth. He brings a behavioral economics background, along with retail and commerce experience and strategic planning credentials to the role. He will work to deliver strategic thought leadership on key accounts, pitches and industry forums.
Additional appointments include Amanda (Rosen) Bailey to executive vice president to lead several large and growing CPG client accounts, James Philips to evp, executive creative director and Nicole Seifert to svp, group creative director—both whom have played key roles in accelerating the company’s creative transformation agenda.
The news also follows recent U.S. talent investments, including Laura Mignott as global chief experiential officer and McDonald Predelus as Web3, vp creative director.
VMLY&R Commerce launched in 2021 and has become a highly-awarded U.S. commerce agency, with wins across D&AD, Effies, Clio, One Show and Reggies. Assignments have doubled year-over-year with growth across new and existing clients, including GSK, General Mills, The Coca-Cola Company and Conagra.