WCG Hires Interactive Leaders from Fox, Novartis, Humana and Lippe Taylor

Jun 01, 2010, 08:00 ET from WCG

AUSTIN, Texas and SAN FRANCISCO, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- WCG, a global communications company offering integrated creative, interactive and marketing communications services, today announced it has hired four senior professionals to service the growing creative and interactive needs of clients. They include Raghu Polavarapu, formerly a vice president at Fox Interactive Media; Colin Foster, most recently head of social media, worldwide, at Novartis; Matt Snodgrass, formerly head of digital at Lippe Taylor; and Greg Matthews, most recently head of social media and community innovation at Humana. They will join a growing group of professionals in the agency's Interactive practice led by WCG's chief technology and media officer Bob Pearson. The practice is based in Austin, recently named by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine as the #1 city in the U.S. for the next decade.

WCG is focused on five key digital areas comprising social media, web and app development, search, promotion and mobile and how these spheres of influence integrate in real time online.  The agency has recently made more than a dozen new hires to amplify its capabilities in these areas.

"Our goal is to understand exactly what is happening online so that our strategic counsel is centered on facts, not theories, that can build value for a company," said Jim Weiss, WCG's chairman and CEO.  "That's why we are hiring leaders who have pragmatic, real-world, hands-on experience at some of the largest, most innovative companies to build the model of the future, not tweak yesterday's approach."

Polavarapu's extensive background in IT spans many domains, including healthcare, social media, entertainment, news and e-commerce. Prior to architecting, designing and launching social platforms at Enthuze, which develops and markets research methodologies and social networking platforms for data mining, he served as vice president of engineering, QA and production at Fox Interactive Media where he built a digital publishing platform for clients Foxsports.com, Scripps and LIN Networks. Polavarapu's background also includes serving as the technical manager/J2EE lead at MedAssets (Avega Health Systems) where he worked on Gen 5.0 reporting products that are used by both healthcare providers and payers. He worked as enterprise architect for Sony Pictures where he launched major applications, including Global Product Management System (GPMS) and Programming and Management (PAM).

Foster is a 14-year veteran of the digital space, over half of which have been in the pharmaceutical industry. He has led complex and large global teams to set strategy and drive execution at Novartis, most recently as worldwide director of social media. Previously he served as director, employee communications and online communications at Novartis International AG where he created and led the Social Media Catalyst Team to co-develop and execute social media strategy. He was also formerly global e-marketing manager at Novartis Pharma AG and served as ebusiness manager at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada.

Prior to leading digital marketing at Lippe Taylor, Snodgrass was vice president of digital marketing at Porter Novelli where he created and managed a comprehensive array of interactive marketing programs for clients including Hewlett-Packard, Gillette, M&M's, Absolut, PwC, Tele Atlas, Shire and Merck. At Porter Novelli he also handled digital media for Web, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, DVD and e-mail marketing. He was formerly a manager of new media at Rysher Entertainment.

Matthews joins WCG from Humana, where he served as director of consumer innovation and social media. He created and led Humana's Community Innovation and Social Media practice with the goal of "supporting a social revolution in health" by leveraging social networks to help people live healthier lives. He is the architect of the "Town Square" model of managing enterprise social media (as featured in Charlene Li's "Open Leadership") and creator of several proprietary social monitoring and engagement tools. Humana was just recently ranked in the "Top 20 on Twitter" for most "social" companies by Mashable. Previously, Matthews was vice president and chief people officer for Braun Consulting, where he was responsible for all people and infrastructure issues. He was also a key HR leader in Accenture's financial services practice based in the company's Frankfurt, Germany office.

About WCG

Led by Chairman and CEO Jim Weiss, WCG is creating the positive future of communications by focusing on the corporate and product marketing and communications needs of the world's leading companies.  WCG was recently named North American Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report, was ranked #6 in PRWeek's Top 10 Independent Agency Rankings and was selected PRWeek Editor's Choice of Who to Watch in 2010.

Serving clients in offices in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Austin and London, WCG's seasoned professionals specialize in branding, design, digital, interactive, social and traditional marketing, corporate and product PR, media, investor and advocacy relations, clinical trial recruitment and grassroots direct-to-patient communications campaigns. For more information, please visit www.wcgworld.com.