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Chief Operations Officer, Merkle Northern Europe

Location: NE, .
Company Description:

Merkle is a leading data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency that specialises in the delivery of unique, personalised customer experiences across platforms and devices. We call it ‘people-based’ marketing, and with over 25 years’ experience, we are proud to be recognised as a global leader.

Merkle’s heritage in data, technology and analytics is the foundation for our understanding of consumer insights that drives our people-based marketing strategies. Combined with our expertise in performance creative and media, we can then offer our clients content-driven, contextual and compelling customer experiences that drive business growth.

We are also part of dentsu – a global agency network with more than 46,000 dedicated employees in 145 markets. 

Job Description:

Merkle NE is creating a new role as Chief Operating Officer across the Northern European Cluster. The COO has the overarching responsibilty for the agency cost base and leads cluster wide operations, enabling our regional integration, and ultimately our growth and profitability.

The COO will be part of the Executive Leadership group, and directly manage an operations team. The operations team will be responsible for optimising the agency’s operating model by ensuring daily operations but also by setting and executing on a middle to long-term strategy.

Areas of responsibility and accountability will include agency resource and traffic management, talent pipeline management and acquisition, right-shoring strategy, agency tooling and operational reporting (timesheets, utilisation, client & project profitability)

The role will have a crucial function and responsibility in terms of our NE integration project in 2022. Alignment of internal tooling, workflows and ways of working will be led by the COO. The transition and migration to single systems and processes across four markets must be achieved with minimal disruption to the business.

Finally, to be successful in this role, the focus should be on creating valuable processes that achieve operational efficiency whilst at the same time ensuring teams are enabled to deliver impactful solutions for our clients.

Daily tasks as COO

  • Daily management of the agency cost base
  • Oversight and tracking of all internal operations for the NE region
  • Working with traffic and team leads to ensure maximum utlisation of teams
  • Staffing and traffic management based on pipeline planning
  • Working with dentsu HR functions around talent acquisition, including new hire business cases and approvals and talent pipeline management 
  • Regular reporting of capacity, utilisation, client and project profitability and delivery risks
  • Identifying business risks, flagging capacity and escalating and solutioning profitability issues with the executive team 
  • Tracking and optimisation of pricing and margin maximisation
  • Near and offshore strategy – working with the Executive team and Practice Leaders to rapidly enable and scale rightshoring

Role focus areas

Key responsibilities

  1. Cost management and continuos margin optimization
  2. Leads integration efforts and standardization of work practices, tools and systems across the cluster
  3. Manages the distribution of work and skills across the EMEA region using capability from other clusters.
  4. Hands on management/oversight of client and project profitability
  5. Drives adoption of both near and offshore across the cluster.
    - Provide the blueprint for the delivery process for local and regional clients.
    - Ensure a culture of collaboration allows efficiencies to be found, driving the profit
    - Ensure that all parts of the business/offices are working efficiently together.
  6. In charge of operations team responsible for 
    - Initiate and implement the right operational model and structure in line with the client solutions we provide
    - Agency tooling
    - Staffing and ressource management
    - Talent recruitment and tlent pipeline management and acquisition
    - Operational reporting (timesheets, utilisation, client & project profitability)

Strategic focus

  • Quality & impact of the experiences we create                         10%
  • Happiness and engagement of our people                               20%
  • Revenue and client growth                                                       20%
  • Operational efficiencies                                                             50%
  • Most recognised brand within CX                                             0%

What succes looks like
The role will be measured on:

  • Gross Margin targets
  • Utilisation
  • Rightshore mix ratio
  • Successful NE operational integration
  • Significant industry experience in agency and in a leadership role 
  • Significant experience with agency management systems, preferably including implementation of
  • Preferably experience managing agency P&L
  • Strong strategic thinking and understanding of business models and agency processes
  • Strong team leadership skills and advanced problem solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Driven, takes ownership and responsibility for work, is proactive not reactive
Additional Information:

There is no application deadline. Finding the right candidate is more important to us than a speedy process. We practice ongoing selection and therefore ask you to submit your application as soon as possible.

Please note: This job can be held anywhere in Northern Europe. 

More Information:

Graduate Opportunities: Whether you're still studying, recently graduated or are already working and fancy a career hop, we could have a perfect opportunity for you.
Experienced Hires: Leverage your expertise, challenge the status quo and grow your career at Merkle.

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