Elite SEM made major C-Suite changes this week. Zach Morrison, previously president of the digital agency, has been appointed chief executive officer. Ben Kirshner, founder and former CEO, assumes the role of chairman of the board for the 567-employee agency.
The executive promotions follow a year of rapid growth, with an increase of more than 40% in organic revenue growth
last year, excluding the acquisitions of OrionCKB, Email Aptitude, and CPC Strategy. The agency now manages $1 billion in ad spend.
In the past year, Elite SEM appointed Dalton Dorne to CMO, previously SVP head of marketing at Merkle Americas; Aron Katz to chief of staff, previously at Possible; and Tricia Powell to chief financial officer, previously at Performics.
"Well into the nine figures in revenue with more than 40% growth last year," Morrison expects the company to end 2019 with the same type of growth.
Morrison’s move to CEO means the company will "reinvent the meaning of 'president' at the company." He believes that in time the company could have many presidents as it continues to expand beyond the U.S. and in the services offered.
Morrison said the company has about 75 new hires slated for 2019, not counting those added by acquisitions. “I’m a pretty competitive person,” he said. “I did three last year, so I guess if I had to set a [goal] for myself, it will be about the same this year.”
Making an acquisition, he said, is a strategy and opportunity. He and Kirshner continually refine the play as they look in the market for companies with great growth, leadership teams and culture.
Elite SEM’s integrated media, analytics and creative practice will become a major focus for Morrison. He wants to see these businesses support the entire agency, whether through paid search or Amazon advertising.