A MAJOR media and marketing agency has made a big investment in the North-east.
Three senior executives have been signed up by Dentsu Aegis Network to bolster their existing team, in a move which the Japanese giant claims is a "significant vote of confidence" in the region.
Russell Borthwick has been appointed managing partner of the group's Newcastle-based operation, with the aim of introducing new brands and services from the company's network to the region.
The business will use a successful business model from its other four UK offices in Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and London.
Russell, 48, started the Sunderlandbased communications consultancy Press Ahead in 2004, leaving at the start of 2014 to become regional managing director of Trinity Mirror North East.
Dentsu's Pounds 3bn takeover of Aegis in 2012 made them a top- five player in the worldwide marketplace, with 36,000 staff operating in 110 countries across the globe. The Dentsu Aegis Network comprises a number of leading brands including Carat Media.
Some of Carat's clients from the region include Middlesbrough- based Barker and Stonehouse, Benfield, Intu Metrocentre, Sunderland College and the University of Sunderland.
Russell's appointment signals the start of a significant growth initiative.
He said: "This really is an exciting time for our team and is a sign that a global player in the media space views the North-east as being a market worthy of a significant presence and this kind of investment.
"We are very much looking forward to working with clients old and new across the North-east and beyond to provide global scale, customer insight and trading power backed up by exceptional local knowledge and client service."
He is being joined by Steve Underwood, who becomes director of one of their other key brands, iProspect, the world's leading digital performance marketing agency.
The third signing by Dentsu Aegis is Kevin McEwan, a former Robson Brown member of staff.
Kevin, 34, is returning to the region as Media Manager in the Carat client services team.
The three appointments add firepower to the existing Newcastlebased Carat team led by MD Keith Morris and associate director Ed Ammon, which recently relocated to new offices in Central Square, Newcastle.
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