Darren Keen Named CEO, Europe After Building The Mars Agency's Office in London

Focused on increasing global operations, Global CEO Ken Barnett Names CEO Europe in Conjunction with CEO North America, also appoints European Director, Client Leadership

Dec 15, 2015, 08:30 ET from The Mars Agency

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. and LONDON, Dec. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mars Agency has begun its 2016 fiscal year with a series of historic, structural enhancements, including the promotion of Darren Keen from Managing Director, Europe to Chief Executive Officer, Europe. For 43 years the agency has operated under one Global CEO, and the addition of CEO, Europe in conjunction with the recent announcement of Rob Rivenburgh as CEO, North America marks the beginning of the next great era for one of the world's largest, independent shopper marketing agencies and a proven industry leader.

"Darren has been an influential player in shopper marketing for many years and when we first got together to discuss his joining the team, we spent a great deal of time co-understanding the essence of what The Mars Agency stood for," said Global CEO Ken Barnett. "I had complete confidence he was the person to lead the charge in building our presence on the ground on the other side of the pond. Now, five years later, he's done that and so much more."

Before joining The Mars Agency in 2010, Keen was the Head of Shopper Marketing for Arc Worldwide in the UK. He was the first Martian (as The Mars Agency team members are affectionately known) on the ground in London and has since built an expert team of nearly 25 as well as a network of top-tier European third-party partners. Keen led the way in managing and maintaining the relationship with founding clients in London, including Coca-Cola, which remains one of the agency's core clients. His proven ability to recruit team members of equal caliber began with the hire of Greg Thorpe, who joined the team in 2010 and has played an integral role in the development of The Mars Agency's European presence.

"Darren and Greg together have been nothing short of a dream team," added Barnett. "Darren showed us right from the beginning that he was capable of building an all-star team. We're proud to announce that in conjunction with Darren's promotion to CEO, Europe, Greg Thorpe will move from his role as Business Director to European Director, Client Leadership."

Keen explains that about 50 percent of the work done today by The Mars Agency team in London is locally focused. "Brands hire a shopper marketing partner because they require a local feeling in the way they connect with consumers," said Keen. "In combination with growing our team here, Greg and I have been able to build strong partnerships with third-party partners across Europe that allow us to service the local markets very effectively, stemming of course from a smart, centralized London hub. My focus in Europe will be to build off of the long-running and impactful leadership Ken has established, to provide continually greater customer service and innovation across the European continent."

Over the last three years, The Mars Agency London has celebrated the addition of Samsung, Danone and Unilever to its client roster. In 2015 alone, Keen and his team brought on two key European-based brands, Molson Coors and Bayer. Enhanced executive leadership in the London office will greatly benefit key clients, including those listed here.

For clients with a more global reach, the promotions of both Keen and Rivenburgh provide a benefit that is unmatched among competing agencies in the industry.

"As we focus on the next great generation of The Mars Agency, Rob and I are looking forward to increased global cooperation, where we can each bring a fresh perspective to the table regarding the sharing of information and identifying where we can be stronger together as international partners," said Keen. Barnett went on to add, "From a geographical standpoint, together they'll be able to make a huge operational impact. When it's Rob's 8 a.m., it's Darren's 1 p.m.; this nearly doubles our clients' access to CEO leadership on any given day."

One of the first initiatives Keen and Rivenburgh will collaborate on is a more formalized, around-the-clock service offering for clients with a global footprint. For brands in need of a fast turnaround on retail-focused initiatives, the two teams will have the ability to share production resources offering high-quality results, and thus the ability to be faster to market than anyone else in the industry.

To learn more about The Mars Agency, visit http://www.themarsagency.com/.

About The Mars Agency
The Mars Agency creates Unifying Ideassm for a divided industry. This global shopper marketing agency focuses on driving sustainable growth for its Fortune 500 clients by unifying the wants and needs of brands, shoppers and retailers. They build simple, connective marketing solutions that link brand experiences across mediums, devices and channels of commerce. 

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Jackie Minchillo

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SOURCE The Mars Agency