News & Views

Karl Marsden To Join Contagious Communications As New CEO

by Contagious Contributor
Former Shortlist Media chief operating officer to replace outgoing Contagious CEO, Simon Wylie



Contagious Communications is delighted to announce the appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer, Karl Marsden. Previously, Marsden (pictured) was the chief operating officer at UK media and events business, Shortlist Media, home of the editorial brands Shortlist, Stylist, Emerald Street and Mr Hyde. He will take up the position at Contagious, based in the London HQ, on October 17th.

‘I am so pleased to be joining Contagious Communications to lead the company at this important time in its journey,’ says Marsden. ‘The work the Contagious team has been doing over the last 12 years on creative efficacy and the impact of innovation is incredibly exciting. Never has the relationship between great ideas and real world effect been more relevant than now. Truly outstanding creative married with world class implementation may well be the last competitive edge that marketers and media specialists have full control of. I cannot wait to get started working with such a talented team to continue to build the reach of the Contagious proposition both here in the UK and internationally.’

Editorial Director, Paul Kemp-Robertson, the co-founder and majority shareholder of Contagious Communications says: ‘Karl is the ideal leader for a company that straddles publishing, innovation consultancy and creative leadership training. He was the commercial rocket fuel behind the success of Shortlist Media; a business that has won more than 60 industry awards. He is results-driven, with a keen entrepreneurial spirit and a recognised ability to nurture talent and to champion a strong sense of purpose. He was instrumental in building a successful publishing business from scratch, has launched events, managed key client relationships, liaised with editors, injected effective digital and CRM capabilities into businesses and led a sales team that grew revenues from zero to £26 million during his tenure. It is a testament to the strength of the Contagious brand that we have managed to attract such a high-calibre talent to head the company.’

Prior to being part of the launch team behind Shortlist Media in 2007, Marsden spent 15 years working across a number of roles at MGN, Sky TV and IPC Media (now Time Inc.) the UK’s largest magazine-based media owner. He worked his way up the ranks on the media sales side of that business, spending time in its Sport, Women’s monthlies, Corporate Sales and finally Men & Music divisions where he occupied the role of Group Commercial Director. He took this same job title and remit with him to News International in 2005 where he joined a senior management team who successfully launched a new business for the global media giant – News Magazines UK (now part of News UK).

Outgoing Contagious CEO Simon Wylie is leaving the company to devote more time to family commitments. He comments: ‘As I scale back my activities to allow more time for me to be the father that I should, as well as accept a number of non-executive board roles, I am confident, with Karl’s leadership, that everyone at Contagious will ensure it remains a leading voice in the industry. It has been an incredible experience to have worked with the entire team at Contagious; to move the company and its reputation beyond publishing the leading journal on the future of advertising and to develop new services and new markets.

‘Contagious now has a fully-fledged consultancy – Contagious Insider – working with key global brands such as Heineken, LVMH, Mondelez, Diageo, Coca Cola, Google and many more; an insight and intelligence platform – Contagious I/O – that equips marketers to understand the important strategic insights and emerging trends driving the world’s most creatively effective work; and an events division that produces some of the most sought after industry events such as the annual Most Contagious conference. I’m most proud of Paul Kemp-Robertson, who co-founded the business, and the people who work here and how together we have ensured that that Contagious now operates in London, New York, Portland, São Paulo and Singapore and is a recognised thought leader on the immediate future of advertising.’

Kemp-Robertson states: ‘On behalf of the Contagious board, I would like to thank Simon for the enormous contribution he has made to the business. Over the past six years, he has helped us to diversify our offering and build a global infrastructure to service client demand. He is leaving for a truly noble reason, and everyone at Contagious is full of admiration for this. Simon will always remain part of the Contagious family.’