Dentsu recruits consulting partner John Riccio to lead Merkle

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Long-time consulting leader and Big Four partner John Riccio has been appointed as the next ANZ chief executive officer of Merkle, the data-driven customer experience consultancy of advertising giant Dentsu.

John Riccio, who has a consulting background spanning almost thirty years, including over two decades at Big Four firms, will take over from Erik Hallander as Merkle Australia and New Zealand CEO from February next year.

“John is a seasoned professional and brings new energy and sound executive leadership to deliver best in class customer and digital transformation solutions for brands in this strategically important growth area of our network,” commented Dentsu ANZ CEO Angela Tangas. “John’s experience navigating complex digital environments only enhances how we evolve further, faster, together.”

Dentsu recruits consulting partner John Riccio to lead Merkle

Riccio crosses from his current role as APAC digital consulting partner at Ernst & Young, where he has served for just under two years out of Melbourne after joining from PwC. A business graduate of RMIT, Riccio first joined PwC in 1992, going on to become the firm’s lead partner for its Retail Systems practice across Australia and Asia prior to the 2002 sale of PwC Consulting to IBM.

Riccio then spent the following six and a half years at IBM, including as its retail industry leader for the UK, Ireland and South Africa based out of London. From there, he rejoined PwC in Australia, over the next decade performing a variety of leadership roles focused on building up the firm’s Digital Services business, including as Chief Digital Officer and ASEANZ Digital Services leader.

He will now be tasked with driving the growth of Merkle in the A/NZ region, which earlier this year evolved through the incorporation of Dentsu enterprise solutions brand Isobar under the consolidated Merkle banner, bringing together its data transformation, digital transformation, and customer experience consulting capabilities. The offering has been led by former Isobar CEO Hallander since June.

“We are committed to bringing all parts of our business together to empower brands in order to create distinctly better interactions, encompassing not only data and technology but design, creativity, human understanding and customer experience in order to unlock total experience outcomes for our clients,” Tangas said. “This is where we can drive the greatest amount of brand relevance.”

Speaking of his new role, Riccio said that the transformational journey Dentsu had already embarked upon was amazing. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to join a business that is forward thinking, agile and focused on the client, customer and employee experience. Now is the time to get ready for the next chapter and I can’t wait to be a part of that journey.”


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