Grey has bolstered its planning department with the appointment of Annalisa Roy and Asad Shaykh as joint heads of strategy.
Roy and Shaykh were appointed by chief strategic officer Raquel Chicourel, to whom both will now report.
Their appointments mark the culmination of a hiring spree by Chicourel in recent months, which has seen the appointments of people including strategy director Ed Hayne, who joined from Saatchi & Saatchi; strategy director Bia Bonani, also from Saatchi & Saatchi; strategy director Hugo Cain, from M&C Saatchi; strategist Polly Goodman from Saatchi & Saatchi; strategist Milan Zum Hebel from Havas London; and digital strategist Josh Hood.
Roy, who until recently was working as a freelance strategy consultant, is former global brand strategy director of Publicis, and previously head of content strategy at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
At AMV, she led innovation across several high-profile brands including Braun (P&G), BT, Eurostar, Mercedes Benz and Foot Locker. At Publicis, she led the global strategy on SCA and worked closely with the ECD on creative development across the whole agency.
She also worked at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London as a consultant on a series of innovation projects involving a space launch for Samsung and the development of entirely recyclable paper bottles for Absolut Vodka.
Shaykh, most recently Grey Social’s digital strategy director, has previously held various head of strategy roles and is also both director of marketing and communications and head of brand for Pride London – voluntary roles he will continue.
Across a career spanning more than two decades, he has worked in the UK, US and EU on brand challenges ranging from crafting a bespoke Internet of Things strategy for Vodafone Enterprise to launching Coca-Cola’s most successful market entrant across social in 2018.
He has also worked on developing brands including ACCA, Aviva, Coca-Cola, Dreams, Sky, Swarovski, Vodafone and HSBC.
Chicourel said: “The strategy squad at Grey is pretty different. We have been quietly building a team with some of the most beautiful different minds in London. Weird and wonderful, Oxbridge and BTEC, brand and digital.
"I’m proud that no two Grey strategists are the same. The logic behind this is simple. If you keep hiring the same kind of people you’ll keep getting the same kind of thinking. That’s why diversity lives through every level of our squad.
“I’m Brazilian, our heads of strategy are from Pakistan and Italy and some of our new hires are English. Some of us have university degrees, some don’t. Some come from brand and consultancy, others from digital and content. Some do photography and rugby while others are sneakerheads, write novels, knit and sketch anime in their spare time.
"This is how we hire and how we nurture our thinkers. If you want to make famous work that matters to real people in the real world, you need a hit of difference.”
Roy added: “When Raquel shared her vision with me, I knew that building and nurturing the department of strategy at Grey would be an amazing opportunity. When she told me Asad would be my partner, I realised it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Shaykh said: “I am tremendously proud to help form a strategy department that is truly diverse and celebrates differences – of both background and opinion. It shows in who we are and it will show in what we do.”