JWT Adds Analytics Chief

JWT has added Draftfcb’s Ira Helf in the new, North American position of director of analytics.

Helf previously was executive director of data and analytics at Interpublic Group’s Draftfcb in New York. At WPP Group’s JWT, he’ll lead a department of about 20 that analyzes data to help clients maximize their investment in advertising, direct and digital marketing, the agency said.

“Ira brings an innate ability to make data tangible, relevant and even creative for clients,” said JWT N.A. president Rosemarie Ryan.

Helf, 57, spent nearly two years at Draftfcb, where he led a team of 20 data strategists and technologists. Before that, he was N.A. managing director of analytics at WPP’s OgilvyOne in New York, where he worked on clients such as DHL, Cisco, Six Flags and SAP.

Previously, JWT’s analytics practice was centered in direct marketing unit RMG and led by chief marketing information officer Urvashi Pitre, who was based in Dallas. Pitre left the agency in September. Also, last year JWT folded RMG into the main agency, and Helf’s hire is designed to raise the profile of the practice.
Helf, who started this week and is based in New York, became part of a North American management team that includes Ryan and Ty Montague, co-president and chief creative officer for the region. He reports to Ryan.

Top JWT clients include Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark and Diageo.

Helf’s previous duties at Draftfcb have been temporarily absorbed by several executives while the shop searches for a new executive director, a rep at that agency said.