Advertising veteran Suhaila Suhimi Hobba is jumping to the media side of the industry as Head of Independent Agencies, a newly created role at AOL.
Suhaila will oversee deepening
AOL’s strategic relationships with Independent Agencies to help address their clients’ needs on both premium and programmatic sides. "My job is to develop relationships with C-level
executives at the agencies and to help them connect the dots with everything AOL offers," she says. "There are lots of opportunities for agencies, but we at AOL haven't been doing a great job of
telling the full story. Many don't understand what we are capable of. We have Huffington Post, Engadget, and those are just a few of our consumer brands. So my challenge is to make sure agencies are
aware of our capabilities. The global agency team will work in concert with the sales team to identify any gaps."
Simply put, Suhaila will focus on building innovative cross-platform
content-based solutions for blue-chip clients. "We are the pillar between content and technology," she says.
This position switch happened organically. Suhaila joins AOL from Initiative
Worldwide, a unit of Interpublic Group, where her duties included managing cross-media investment on behalf of the agency’s roster of Fortune 500 clients, while leading the strategy and
implementation of all media initiatives.
She wasn't specifically looking to leave, but started talking with AOL's Jack Bamberger about how agencies were increasingly becoming farther removed
from product and content. Then, Bamberger mentioned AOL was beefing up its global agency development team, which operates across 18 countries and 6 continents and is focused on creating enterprise
technology platform partnerships, enterprise content partnerships and global commercial agreements that enable agencies and their clients to fully leverage AOL's entire media and technology stack at
scale. She expressed interest in leveraging her talent in these new opportunities.
“Suhaila has been at the forefront of innovation and creativity her entire career," said Jack
Bamberger, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Agency Development at AOL. "We are incredibly excited for her to leverage her deep agency and media owner industry experience in content, distribution
and technology and work to strategically elevate AOL’s relationships with Independent Agencies at such a pivotal and transformational time in their journey."
Now, in addition to
Suhaila, AOL continues to expand its agency team. Jack Bamberger was recently promoted from Head of Agency and Industry Relations, to Senior Vice President, Global Head of Agency Development; Lisa
(Kasting) Ierardi was named as Agency Lead, IPG in New York and James Harris as Agency Lead, International in the UK. Suhaila will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to Bamberger.