Top media agency signs trio of North East chiefs

Left to right: Russell Borthwick, Steve Underwood, Kevin McEwan
Left to right: Russell Borthwick, Steve Underwood, Kevin McEwan
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One of the world’s leading media and marketing agencies has made a major investment in the North East.

Three senior executives have been signed up by Dentsu Aegis Network to bolster their existing team in a move which represents a significant vote of confidence in the region.

Russell Borthwick has been appointed Managing Partner of the group’s Newcastle-based operation with the aim of introducing new brands and services from their network to the region and emulating the business model seen at their other four UK offices in Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and London.

Mr Borthwick, 48, started the Sunderland-based communications consultancy Press Ahead in 2004, exiting at the start of 2014 to become regional MD of Trinity Mirror North East.

Dentsu’s £3bn takeover of Aegis in 2012 made them a top-five player in the worldwide marketplace with 36,000 staff operating in 110 countries across the globe.

The Dentsu Aegis Network comprises a number of leading brands including Carat Media which has operated in the North East from its Newcastle base since 2011 when Mediavest became part of the Aegis Group. Prior to this many of the team worked for the locally-owned agency Robson Brown.

Some of Carat’s clients from the region include Barker and Stonehouse, Benfield, Intu Metrocentre, Sunderland College and the University of Sunderland.

Mr Borthwick said: “This really is an exciting time for our team and is a sign that a global player in the media space views the North East as being a market worthy of a significant presence and this kind of investment.”

He is being joined by Steve Underwood, who becomes Director of one of their other key brands, iProspect, the world’s leading digital performance marketing agency.

Mr Underwood, 36, previously held senior positions at local agency Silverbean, most recently as Director with responsibility for the commercial development and growth of the agency.

The third signing by Dentsu Aegis is Kevin McEwan, who is coming back to the region as Media Manager in the Carat client services team.

Mr McEwan, 34, who has a strong background in planning and buying across regional media, left the region 10 years ago to join MediaCom London where he worked on major retail brand accounts.