AVA proudly announced it had secured Jo Royce as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer, in another impressive hire for the business setting out to redefine how digital marketing acquisitions firms operate. Along with Uhuru Network’s Peter Lang, The Foundry’s Tom Shipley, and “Scale at Speed” author Felix Velarde, AVA is defined by its heavyweight leadership.
Jo will be charged with identifying future leadership talent as well as implementing world-class client management processes. Jo’s background includes extensive experience running digital & creative agencies, with a decade at the helm of multi-awarded agency glue Isobar; leading People Ops & Learning roles at Google; and as Global Director of Marketing Capabilities & Learning for Unilever.
“With agency leadership and client-side experience at some of the world’s most respected companies, Jo brings a unique perspective,” said Felix Velarde, AVA Co-Founder and Head of Strategy. “Our goal is to completely disrupt the outdated ways of running agency networks. AVA’s strategy is to build a digital marketing powerhouse by identifying and nurturing the next generation of talent and leadership. Jo’s career has been all about developing people at the world’s most successful companies – and we are delighted to have her on board, developing AVA as we set about our plan to transform our industry.”
Peter Lang: An American entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist with more than a decade of experience starting, building, buying, and selling companies in online publishing, media, advertising, eCommerce, training, and consulting. In 2010, Lang founded the Uhuru Network, a digital sales and inbound marketing agency, before later acquiring six agencies and growing revenue by 500%, centralizing sales to a specialist unit. Leveraging both of his leading agency M&A training programs, DAB and Programmatic M&A, Lang and his team have met with nearly 600 agency founders in the past two years
Tom Shipley: A serial entrepreneur, eCommerce and platform investor, strategic advisor, and speaker, Shipley has become one of the leading experts in omnichannel brand building over the last 20 years. Shipley is the co-founder and past President of Foundry – an Ecommerce and Amazon brand aggregator which raised $100 million in 2021 to create a leading digital-first consumer brands company. Prior to that, Shipley built Atlantic Coast Brands, whose iconic brands sold over $2 billion through direct-to-consumer channels and retail.
Felix Velarde: A scaling expert, Velarde is the founder of one of the world’s first digital agencies in 1994, and has a string of successful agencies and agency groups under his belt. He became the UK-lead for American Internet pioneer Vint Cerf’s “People-Centered Internet” coalition, and in 2016, founded the 2Y3X Program, a commercial agency accelerator. In 2021, Velarde authored “Scale at Speed,” the industry manual on how to grow companies by tapping into the leadership of the future.
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