Ben Stephens

Ben Stephens

CEO at Stack Agency

London, United Kingdom
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My Latest Work

Summary

Before joining Stack as CEO in 2015 Ben founded Stephens Francis Whitson (SFW) and built a blue chip client roster over eight years, winning more than 50 awards for creativity and marketing effectiveness. In 2013 SFW was sold to the VCCP Partnership, and renamed VCCPme after its merger with Tree, the data consultancy.

Prior to this Ben was Managing Director of Rapier, for half of the time that Campaign awarded it ‘Direct Agency of the Decade’ for the noughties. And as a young man he founded TBWA Direct and merged it twice to become Joint CEO of Tequila UK.

Ben has always focused on the direct, digital and data space advising over 40 brands on how to adapt to the digital economy whilst driving both customer profitability and engagement.

At Stack Ben is re-dedicating the agency to galvanising strategy, data, creative and technology to answer the challenges of creating and managing customers for clients such as Citroen, Peugeot, Beiersdorf and Estee Lauder.

People I worked with

Dean Woodhouse
Copywriter
Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Hugo Bierschenk
Art Director
Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Simon Riley
Copywriter
DFGW (now Freud)
Noam Murro
Director
Biscuit Filmworks UK
Joanna Newsom
Music Composer
Mother London

Positions

Chairman & CEO

Stack Agency
January 2015 - Currently here (1 year 11 months)

CEO

VCCPme (Formerly Stephens Francis Whitson)
2013 - 2014 (1 year)
In 2013 my partners and I sold SFW to the VCCP Partnership / Chime Plc in 2013 in order to create an exit strategy and to enable international expansion.

Post sale I led the merger between SFW and Tree, the data consultancy, to create VCCPme - a business capable of servicing the end-to-end digital, direct and data needs of major UK and multi-national service brands.

Clients included Channel 4, Kia Motors, O2, News UK, Royal London Group, The Football League and Totaljobs.

Founding Partner

Stephens Francis Whitson
London, United Kingdom
2005 - 2013 (8 years)
Launched the business in 2005 with a differentiated business proposition and deliberately recruited a diverse pool of talent after I had put the funding and operational infrastructure in place.

Together we built a blue chip list of clients working across numerous sectors, tackling super rich to sub-prime audiences in the UK and 20 other markets, and winning over 50 industry awards for marketing and business effectiveness along the way.

Clients included Callaway Golf, Dyson, First Drinks Brands, Go Ahead Group, House of Fraser, More Than & RSA Group, Microsoft, QVC, SAV Credit (now NewDay), The O2 (Anschutz Company), The Rocco Forte Collection and Visa Europe.

A motivating and rewarding culture within SFW was absolutely essential to keeping smart people in the business and to delivering double digit growth year on year.

Managing Director

Rapier
2000 - 2004 (4 years)
Having been headhunted to run one of the largest independent agencies I worked with the founder to develop a new proposition for the business; building a strategic planning hub and overhauling the sales and marketing strategy.

I also led the new business team, winning terrific high margin retained clients such as The AA, HSBC, Marks & Spencer, npower and Schroders; all of whom required either business transformation, launch or re-launch strategies. Inside three years the profits of this established business doubled, creating the largest independent agency in the UK.

Rapier was subsequently voted by Campaign Magazine as its Direct Agency of the Decade for the Noughties.

UK Chief Executive

Tequila (Formely TBWA Payne Stracey)
1999 - 2000 (1 year)
I led a highly charged merger between TBWA Payne Stracey and Tequila following the rather sudden acquisition of the latter by the U.S. based Omnicom Group.

Though challenging, what was both motivating and satisfying was bringing together two management teams with entirely different skills, attitudes and working practices to create a cohesive board of directors (much aided by getting them to take on the Three Peaks Challenge...) at the same time as undertaking a major cost reduction programme and retaining ‘at risk’ clients.

Managing Director

TBWA Payne Stracey (Formerly TBWA Direct)
1998 - 1999 (1 year)
I led the merger of TBWA Direct and Payne Stracey, successfully integrating a highly independent agency into the TBWA Group and worked with the founders through their earn-out period.

New business momentum was maintained at the same time as making some high profile changes to the Board of Directors to ensure we had the best talent in the industry working in our agency.

Managing Director

TBWA Direct
1995 - 1997 (2 years)
I launched a Direct Marketing agency from scratch on behalf of the TBWA Group, introducing wider marketing skills to a Group that had single-mindedly concentrated on Brand Advertising until that point.

Head of Integration

GGK
1995 - 1996 (1 year)
Developing multi-channel campaigns across their client base.

Account Director

Limbo (Bartle Bogle Hegarty Group)
1990 - 1995 (5 years)
Worked across the financial services, retail and leisure sectors on UK and multi-national accounts.

Account Manager

FKB Carlson
1989 - 1990 (1 year)
Their first graduate trainee.

Education

Geography

Durham University
1985 - 1988 (3 years)

Trade Organizations

Oystercatchers Club, London

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