Pitch Marketing Group has announced two new hires to its Senior Management Team, with Abi Russell joining as Head of Partnerships and Clara Biu in the new role of Non-Executive Director. Russell will report into Pitch’s Managing Director, Chris Allen, while Biu will act as an independent advisor to the board.
The hires come as Pitch looks to accelerate its growth in 2024, following its move to a 100% employee-owned business and a number of new client wins in 2023, including NatWest and EA FC.
As Head of Partnerships, Abi Russell is charged with spearheading the growth of the agency’s specialist sponsorship strategy and activation division, Pitch Partnerships, which counts Gallagher Insurance, NatWest and Betfair amongst its clients. Russell previously held Partnership Business Director roles at WPP-owned Mindshare and Wavemaker where she led on award winning campaigns for clients including evian, Booking.com, Colgate, William Hill and Campari.
Abi Russell, Head of Partnerships at Pitch Marketing Group, commented; “I’m delighted to be joining Pitch at such an exciting time for the agency. My ambition for the division is simple; to deliver creative, modern and most importantly, effective sponsorship strategies and activations. It’s a great time for brands to be considering sports sponsorship; there is more awareness than ever around the benefit of investing in women’s sport, increased innovation and adoption of AI is leading to deepening engagement with fans, and we’re seeing athletes and rights holders pushing creative boundaries when working with partners. To our wonderful roster of existing clients, and those clients yet to join us this year, I’m looking forward to making great things happen in 2024 and beyond.”
Chris Allen, Managing Director of Pitch Marketing Group, added; “In her short time at the agency, Abi has already made a huge impact with both our clients and her team. She is a big advocate for the role of creativity in sponsorship strategy and activation – a quality that was essential for us in this role – is a brilliant client handler and embodies the entrepreneurial spirit we want to see as an employee-owned business. I know she is going to be a fantastic addition to our business.”
Clara Biu’s Non-Executive Director role is focussed on supercharging Pitch’s DE&I strategy to improve diversity of thought across the agency. She will provide strategic counsel and advice to the agency’s leadership team and internal ‘Changemakers’ working group on retaining and attracting diverse talent. Biu is a recognised communications and social impact leader, bringing almost two decades of experience helping brands better connect with their audiences. She is currently Head of PR, Events & Social Impact at Just Eat, where she sits within the food delivery giant’s UK leadership team. Biu will continue her role at Just Eat alongside the Non-Executive Director position at Pitch.
Creative Access, the leading diversity and inclusion social enterprise and long-term Pitch DE&I partner, led the recruitment process for the Non-Executive role.
Clara Biu, Pitch’s Non Executive Director, commented; “Many agencies are taking steps in the right direction when it comes to DE&I, but it’s a complex and ever-evolving area, often requiring collaboration with those who can bring a different perspective. The creation of a senior advisory position such as this shows real commitment to making a difference, and an understanding that a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace can improve company culture, creative output and the bottom line. I’m excited to be working alongside Pitch’s leadership team to bring about positive change.”
Allen added; “Clients pay us to communicate with diverse audiences which makes having a diverse team with different perspectives and life experiences a business imperative. Whilst we’ve made positive steps in this space over the last couple of years, Clara’s lived experience and extensive career – spanning both in house and agency side – combined with her role implementing DE&I change at a global brand will play an important role in accelerating our journey to make Pitch a place where diversity of thought thrives.”