Today, the independently-owned brand-led digital experience agency Rufus Leonard announced that it has named Laurence Parkes as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Parkes, who steps into the role following four years as Chief Strategy Officer, succeeds co-founder Neil Svensen, who will continue in his role of Co-founder and take on the new role of Chair following 30 years as Chief Executive.
As Chair, Svensen will remain an active member of the agency and Board, concentrating on working with key current and new clients, building the long-term client relationships which Rufus Leonard uniquely holds.
“As Rufus celebrates its 30th year, it is the right time to reflect on our past and prepare for the future”, explains Svensen. “Our heritage in both brand and digital underpins our success. Thinking about digital transformation through the lens of brand guarantees consumers are placed at the heart of all initiatives and discussions; culminating in a truly differentiating experience. This has been at the heart of what we have done for 30 years and is as relevant now as it ever was.”
Parkes has held the role of Chief Strategy Officer, a first for the agency, since 2016. He successfully repositioned the agency as Brand Experience Engineers in 2017, reframing the agency services under Brand Experience and launching new products to market including the Brand Experience Index (BXi), driving consistent growth in inbound interest and profit. Heading up Rufus’ strategy team, he has been responsible for creating bespoke and rewarding digital brand experiences for clients including Reckitt Benckiser, Macmillan Cancer Support, the AA and Stagecoach.
Neil Svensen on the appointment: “Throughout his career and his time at Rufus, Laurence has proven himself a powerful strategic operator and passionate supporter of client transformation. He shares our founding vision and our values, and his background will be critical to bolstering our structure, solutions and services making him the ideal choice to lead Rufus Leonard into a new era.”
Prior to joining Rufus, Parkes led strategy teams at some of the world’s leading network agencies including AMV, DDB and BBH. Laurence was most recently responsible for building and developing a 10-strong team of multi-disciplined strategists at AKQA’s award-winning Amsterdam office.
Parkes on the announcement “It is rare to find an agency that has the strategic ability, experience design and technical expertise, in-house, to both define and implement our clients’ vision. Ever since our founders Neil and Darrel started Rufus Leonard 30 years ago, we have been helping businesses create extraordinary experiences for their colleagues and their customers across all touchpoints. From BT’s first website in 1994 to BBC’s future of voice strategy in 2019. This is where Rufus Leonard is unique.”
Completing the new leadership Board, Ale Cabra has been promoted from Managing Partner to Client Services Director and Board member. In her new role, Cabra will be responsible for growing Rufus’ client business and fostering exceptional client service, across organic business development and overarching client growth strategies. She brings a deep-rooted understanding of client business and creating transformational brand experiences for brands.
Since joining Rufus Leonard in 2016 following roles at Razorfish, Collective London and Publicis, she has led a portfolio of clients at Rufus Leonard that includes London Business School, Lloyd’s Register, British Red Cross and Stagecoach. Ale and her team provide consultancy to key accounts, helping them to shape brand-driven digital experiences.
Laurence Parkes confirms “Value-driven client service is critical to any long-lasting client relationship and, with Ale’s promotion, is now firmly at the heart of our agency. Ale is the personification of lion-hearted, a core Rufus value. Her commitment and passion for the success of her clients is infectious.”
Ale joins the Rufus Leonard Board, alongside Neil Svensen, Laurence Parkes, Darrel Worthington (Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer), Will Rowe (Chief Operating Officer), and Peter Barker (Chief Technology Officer).
This move comes at a time of incredible growth and creative success for Rufus Leonard. The agency has recently picked up three significant un-disclosed accounts and are currently shortlisted for Best Digital Agency at the 2019 Digital Experience Awards. In recent months they have been awarded the Digital Transformation Award Marketing Week Master for work with The Gym Group, an Effective Mobile Marketing Award for work with Sky and Domestic & General and have scooped five Transform Awards for work with BBC Bitesize, Lloyd’s Register, Aggreko and British Red Cross.
Ale Cabra, Client Services Director
Laurence Parkes, Chief Executive Officer