Rise at Seven MBO and New Managing Director - a public plan on a page
Carrie Rose Founder & CEO
7 min read
Monday, 14th November 2022
Today is a huge day for everyone here at Rise at Seven. I write this with the biggest smile on my face, but with one foot behind the other ready to forge ahead for our next phase.
Today we throw the covers off a plan we have been working behind the scenes on for 10 months now, a plan to elevate our business and our incredible staff to the next level in our quest to become a truly global search-first creative agency taking on the SEO and creative advertising spaces.
The last three years have been nothing short of phenomenal, exceeding even our own lofty expectations. In that time, whilst many businesses have struggled to manage the upheaval of the pandemic we have managed to build an agency capable of winning the hearts and minds of the biggest brands on earth.
We’ve given jobs to over 140 people, opened offices in Sheffield, Manchester, London and now New York, and we’ve won more than 78 awards in the process (and we have filled a roll top bath full of them).
But with such unprecedented growth comes the inevitable challenges of scaling.
It’s been a tough period for our teams, right the way up to our founders as we searched for what would be needed to turn Rise at Seven into a truly global agency business taking on both search and advertising.
With new enterprise clients, exciting new talent, a lofty ambition and a growing industry - we recognised the need for change. And nothing changes, if nothing changes right?
Well today - we announce a number of good news in preparation for our next phase.
Through a debt-free management buyout I have today become a 100% shareholder in Rise at Seven. As part of this shift however it does mean that we will today be saying a sad goodbye to our brilliant co-founder Stephen Kenwright, who has agreed to step down and exit the company - a dream every successful business owner has.
The Rise at Seven journey has been incredible to date and I couldn’t have done it without Stephen’s brilliant counsel and support. He and I started this as friends and I’m proud to say we will remain exactly that. He has been the most incredible, calm and inspirational support. He always dreamt of building one of the industry's best creative agencies, and we did it. We did it together.
But now we embark on global expansion and that requires an ability to embrace change embedded within our culture and Stephen himself was the first to admit that we needed to bring in further experience if Rise was to fulfil its destiny.
Rise at Seven is a once in a generation agency capable of world domination and I needed to find someone with the same creative ambition to go on this journey with me. Therefore I have selected advertising agency veteran, Nick Hussey, to be our Managing Director after spending a year and half building the business together and proving he is the guy that can help me succeed at this mission.
On top of that, we have brought in a number of key senior hires to bolster the senior leadership team.
Who is Nick Hussey?
Nick has 30 years advertising agency experience starting at Mother, JWT, Havas, Forever Beta, McCann Manchester, and Jaywing. With board and leadership experience, Nick has the knowledge of how to build a once in a lifetime agency - which was a key part of what attracted him to Rise at Seven in the first place. “All the ingredients were there,” he said.
He recognised a need for change in advertising, an industry becoming stale and at threat due to the digital and platform changes that now allowed brands to reach customers and influence customers in a new way.
He went on a search for what would be the next big thing, and did not yet exist. So he embarked on a mission to find the potential, the one agency in the world that had the opportunity to blur advertising and search lines with creativity at its core. An agency similar to the one he once fell in love with, Mother, but had its own uniqueness.
He came across Rise at Seven just like everyone else. An outsider in disbelief of what we had achieved. But once he pulled back the hood, brilliance was revealed. He spent the next 12 months after joining as COO, creating an operational spine in the company. But what he and I both connected on and believed in - was our confidence to be different. Confidence to do things differently. Not like everyone else. But the Rise at Seven way.
That's when I knew… Nick Hussey must be my MD.
Whilst Nick was building on plans for our future, I was discovering me. Who I was. And who I wanted to be.
I have spent the last 12 months self-discovering what I am good at, what I am bad at, what I want to do but more importantly what I don’t. As a visionary, it was clear I needed an integrator. Someone that can take my vision, dreams and make it a reality. It was time to pass the baton over and have someone much better at me doing the things I don't want to do.
Whilst Nick will be implementing our plans from chaotic creative startup to innovative organised powerhouse. He and I will be working together on ambitious plans around M&A, expanding the Rise at Seven group even further and putting the infrastructure in place to deliver industry leading work. This involves expanding our SEO, content marketing and strategy functions with big ambitions.
So what about me? Everything market facing activities…
My focus now is:
- Vision and market growth
- Putting a scaling structure in place for USA replicating our brilliance in the states
- Delivering creative excellence across the group, working closely with delivery and strategy on client work
- Group innovation, product and service R&D
- Strategic acquisitions/mergers to support that
- Growth sales and marketing strategy for us and clients
My talent is wasted anywhere else.
The new era also comes at a great time as we say hello to a number of larger global clients including B&Q, SIXT, Bumble, French Connection, Dermalogica, Getir, Insinkerator Emerson, Helly Hansen, Clearscore, Lounge Underwear, Your Parking Space and more.
Rise at Seven has enhanced its senior team in recent months adding:
- Industry veteran and former Head of Ecommerce at Virgin Trains, Kristal Ireland to its leadership team
- Former Global MD of Exposure, Dave Bennett as Global Communications Director
- Will O’Hara, former Mediacom Search Director in the search strategy team and management team
- Kay Henderson, former Head of Delivery at Jaywing
- Former Global Head of Brand Hut Group’s Look Fantastic, Phoebe Russell as Brand Director
And even more to announce soon ;)
Co-founder Stephen said, "Rise at Seven is and always will be very close to my heart as I have been a part of this agency seeing it become a once-in-a-generation agency business and it is because of the people and the clients that make Rise unique.
What we achieved in three years is nothing short of miraculous, being named Best Large Agency Globally at multiple industry leading awards including Search, PR, Content and Social but what the business needs now is a new direction to guide it through the next phase of its expansion plans.
Appointing Nick as Managing Director allows me to pass the reins to one of the best agency operations persons in advertising I know, and allow him and Carrie to truly disrupt search and advertising. I wish Carrie all the luck in the world and I will continue cheering every win."
In coming months, we are going to be investing heavily into our search and content areas and also bringing more into our leadership team as I explore the roles needed to help run the business day-day. If you want that to be you, get in touch with me directly!
You can also expect further announcements on our plan and the team to deliver it very soon too - so watch this space!
A huge thank you to the team who have been patient, supportive and excited alongside me for this next phase. A huge thank you to clients who have backed us and recommended us to over 70 brands globally - we literally couldn't have done it without you.