Aden Hepburn’s new brand experience agency, Akcelo, has hired Mark Berry to lead its design practice as partner and executive design director.
Hepburn, the former co-CEO at VMLY&R, launched the agency earlier this year alongside Miles Scott and Dave Di Veroli. Berry, VMLY&R’s design director, was part of last year’s exodus from the agency which saw exits including Scott and Di Veroli, following Hepburn and co-CEO Pete Bosilkovski‘s departures.
Berry, Di Veroli and Scott were all employees of VML, under Hepburn’s leadership, prior to its merger with Y&R.
Hepburn said of Berry: “It’s great to welcome Mark as a partner to the business. Having worked with him for a decade I know what he brings for our clients, team and our product. Mark is a clear leader and brilliant human; clients and staff absolutely love him and everything he brings. We couldn’t be luckier to have him join Akcelo.”
Whilst at VMLY&R Berry worked on CommBank Group’s digital experience transformation, McDonald’s store and commerce experience, and product design and innovation projects for Pfizer and Rip Curl.
Berry referred to the Akcelo team as ‘old friends’.
“Akcelo presents a great opportunity for brands to fuse creativity and experience design to deliver outstanding brand experiences, be that class-leading mobile products to commerce experiences in the physical environment. I’m excited to be working with some great old friends and category leading brands as we build a new model with our client partners,” he said.
Also joining Akcelo is Bethany Ryan as business lead on the Lion Beer account and strategist Isaac Lai to lead the agency’s social, content and search practice.
Lai is another former member of VMLY&R. He left the agency in February after four years as connections strategy lead. Lai joins Akcelo following a stint at communications technology company Learnt where he was head of content marketing.
Ryan was previously a senior business director at Leo Burnett Sydney. She has experience in London and Toronto, holding account director roles at Artform and Truant. Most recently, she was freelancing as a project team lead at KPMG Australia.
Hepburn said of the appointments: “In Isaac and Bethany we have two highly experienced senior leaders who will ensure we continue delivering the best work for our clients. I welcome them both.”