London, 7th December 2023: Iris, the global creative network, today announced a number of changes to its senior strategy leadership with the promotion of Global Head of Strategy, Chris Whitson to Global Chief Strategy Officer; Senior Strategy Director, Peter Wilson to Executive Strategy Director; and the appointment of Karen Correia da Silva as a Senior Strategy Director. The moves come as Iris looks to solidify its positioning as ‘The Participation Agency’ and strengthen its position as the leading global micro-network.
Whitson will partner with existing Global Chief Strategy Officer Ben Essen and is specifically tasked with building a connected global community of strategists where multiple strategic disciplines (brand, social, communications, data, performance, pricing) combine to help clients prosper in the Participation era. He will assume leadership and management of the strategy team across the network. Meanwhile, Essen will drive Iris’ Participation positioning globally and ensure that the agency is delivering industry-leading work that delivers on its promise. Beyond Iris’ core clients, he will be focused on the micro-network’s growing offerings within healthcare and consulting as well as continue to lead the marketing industry agenda on sustainability.
Simultaneously, the agency has promoted Peter Wilson to the role of Executive Strategy Director and he is now tasked with leading the Integrated Strategy team for the agency’s London office. Wilson has been a cornerstone of Iris’s strategic capabilities for over a decade both in London and Sydney, where he led the strategy team for three years. Since his return to the London office, he has led integrated strategy for Samsung, Suzuki and Formula E, winning a coveted APG Gold in 2021. Most recently, Wilson helped lead the pitch-winning response that saw McCoy’s appoint Iris as brand strategy and creative partner. He will report into Claire Humphris, CEO London and Chris Whitson, Global Chief Strategy Officer.
Finally, Karen Correia da Silva, a new media and strategic innovation expert, joins Iris in January from The Digital Fairy, where she was Strategy Director, as well as leading its Future Strategy division. Her career is a fantastic blend of strategic academia and cultural strategy, notably seeing her set up and run a Cultural Strategy practice for Flamingo. She has extensive experience across sports and lifestyle brands like adidas, Nike, Lululemon and Puma.
In her new role at Iris, Correia da Silva will lead the strategy team across the Consumer Collective and look after adidas, Pizza Hut and KP Snacks.
These moves follow the appointment of MediaCom’s Helen Brain as Comms Strategy Director earlier this year.
The changes are part of Iris’ strategy to create a new agency model that combines social, performance marketing and data expertise to connect into communities with ideas that mobilise people. Iris’s focus on these key areas is designed to capitalise on the increasing power of owned and earned in helping ideas travel and brands grow.
Ian Millner, Chair, Iris Worldwide, said: “These changes are all about ensuring we have the best possible strategic talent playing in the right positions as we move into a new year and a new era of growth for Iris. We believe our focus on Participation plays perfectly into the world we now inhabit and we are fully committed to delivering great work and thinking to help our clients navigate this brave new world.”
Chris Whitson, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Iris Worldwide, said: “We’re very excited to announce Peter’s promotion and Karen’s arrival. They are both brilliantly talented strategic people and their combination, alongside the rest of the strategy team in London, will ensure we are consistently delivering pin-sharp thinking and insight for our clients as we embrace the new challenges and opportunities they face.”
Karen Correia da Silva, Senior Strategy Director, Iris London, said, “I’m thrilled to join such a sharp, diverse, and creative team as part of this shake-up. Creating meaningful participation in culture has been at the heart of my work for over a decade, and there’s simply no better place to drive the participation brands of the future than Iris.”