Bauer Media UK has strengthened Xcel Media, its digital division, with a series of significant new appointments.

Matthew Hobbs has been appointed Chief Technology Officer. He joins from Argos where he worked as Head of Digital Engineering and was responsible for building their in-house agile development capability for digital channels. Prior to that Matthew was instrumental in helping to build lastminute.com where he worked as Chief Architect. He went on to take up the position of Head of Architecture and Engineering at Brent Hoberman’s mydeco.com, launching a brand new platform in just a few months. During his time at Nuance Communications, Matthew was responsible for delivering a global, multi-channel digital technology platform utilising voice recognition and natural language understanding to aid consumers across a broad range of devices. He takes up the position in September.

Commenting on his appointment, Matthew said:  “I am delighted to be joining Sam and his team at Bauer Xcel; I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with such a forward thinking group and to take on the challenge of making sure technology not only supports, but enhances the business.”

Akhil Suchak has been appointed Head of Social across all Bauer Media brands. Named as one of the most influential people in UK social media (The Drum, Nov. 2014), Akhil joins from Viacom International Media Networks where he led social media across the company’s popular entertainment brands in the UK including MTV and Comedy Central, as well as advising internationally and on brands such as Nickelodeon and recently Channel 5.  In his new role Akhil will work closely with senior management across Bauer brands, identifying business opportunities and spearheading innovative, strategic expansion in the social media space.

Akhil said: "I am really excited to be joining Bauer at such a great time. Bauer's focus on digital and social gives me the chance to work on some incredible brands, opening up new opportunities and accelerating growth."

Satpal Chagger has been appointed Head of Analytics bringing with him a wealth of experience. Prior to joining Bauer, Satpal has spent seven years in data science, working as a digital performance and web-analytics consult for Funding Circle and London Capital Group and five years as a Senior Data Scientist for the Gamesys Group. 

Satpal will be driving efforts to build a fully algorithmic ‘API-first’ data science engine and proprietary analytics software services for Bauer.

Satpal said: “Bauer Xcel is uniquely positioned to disrupt the digital space with the audience data it has globally and I am excited to be part of the group at this stage. Data science has already changed the landscape of digital media and I am confident that Bauer’s data portfolio has the potential to re-shape this.”

Christian Westcott has been appointed Head of Search from hibu (formerly Yell Group) where he worked as Global Head of SEO. Prior to that Christian carried out the same role at Yahoo! where he delivered significant growth in organic search to its portfolio of websites. At Bauer, Christian will oversee a programme to drive natural search traffic across UK and US properties through platform development and content strategy.

Christian said: "It’s exciting to be joining a company with so many well-known brands and such wide consumer reach. I’m looking forward to helping extend that reach even further in search engines. With such a rich portfolio of content, the potential for growth is really quite exceptional".

All new appointments will report to Bauer Media’s Digital Managing Director, Sam Jones, who commented: “I’m thrilled at the world class talent joining our digital team, arriving at a time of huge growth in our digital audience, clients, products and investment, as well as a footprint that already measures 22m monthly unique users and 23m monthly listening hours. Working with and developing world class digital talent is a number one priorty for us and I look forward to the team developing further this year.“

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