Google announced today that it’s making new senior appointments to its UK leadership team. Vanessa Kingori OBE will be joining the business as managing director of tech, media and telecoms (TMT) and Sophie Neary will be joining as managing director of retail and FMCG. In addition, Dyana Najdi has been appointed as managing director, UKI partners & specialists.
All three senior leaders will be reporting to Debbie Weinstein, VP & MD, Google UK & Ireland, and will focus on helping UK-based businesses drive growth through AI-powered technology and advertising solutions. Najdi has started in her role and both Vanessa and Sophie will join Google in 2024.
Debbie Weinstein, VP & MD, Google UK & Ireland, said: “As the UK continues to solidify its standing as a global leader in AI, businesses across the country have an extraordinary opportunity to harness this powerful technology to transform their operations, expand into new markets, and achieve unprecedented growth. I’m delighted to have three incredibly talented new leaders join my team to help businesses unlock creativity, innovation, and new possibilities through AI-powered advertising solutions.”
Kingori has worked at Conde Nast for 15 years. The unprecedented success of British Vogue’s revenue transformation during her tenure as publishing director, led to her being appointed as chief business officer, Conde Nast Britain where she oversees 10 media brands including GQ, Wired, Glamour, Vogue, Vanity Fair. This was in addition to continuing her existing responsibilities directly leading British Vogue and a further expansion of role to support the Vogue brand across Europe as Vogue’s European advisor. Previously, Kingori was publisher of British GQ, where she significantly increased digital revenues. Before her 15 years at Conde Nast she worked at Hearst magazines and the Evening Standard. Kingori has topped Campaign’s Top 10 Trailblazers, 2020 and Top 10 Commercial Chiefs in Britain by Campaign in 2021. She has been credited amongst the 100 Most Influential Black Britons every year for the past 8 years and this year was voted the overall most Powerful Black Executive in Britain. Her social equity work and services to British Media led her to be awarded an OBE in the King’s 2023 New Years Honours List and an MBE on the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours Lists, 2016.
Kingori commented: “We are living through an inflection point that will undoubtedly continue to evolve every business, career, and our lives more generally.
“The lure of pivoting my career to apply my love of positive, transformational leadership at this key moment of change at Google feels urgent and is a dream realised. Having a seat at the table to drive a focus on deep relationships, learning and partnership to create positive outcomes for all, in the era of AI, is a privilege. It’s an exciting new frontier.”
Neary is joining from Meta where she was group director, UK & Ireland. Before joining Meta, Sophie was an executive board member of Boots, heading up Boots.com and its digital retail transformation; she also led Boots’ online response to the COVID pandemic. Neary has been honoured with multiple awards, including the 2021 European EQL Her award for promoting gender equality, the We Are Tech City Trailblazer 2023 award for championing women in the workplace and she is shortlisted in the 2023 Inspirational Leader category of the British Diversity Awards. Her podcast, Courage Is Contagious, tackles important issues facing women in the workplace.
Neary added: “Having been a client of Google since 2006, I have long admired the company and some of the most successful moments of my career to date have been built on a strong, collaborative partnership with Google’s retail teams. It’s the icing on the cake to now be part of that team! Together we will focus on delivering even more impact and innovation in order to futureproof an industry so close to my heart and one that is so vital to the UK economy.”
During her 15 year tenure at Google, Najdi has held a number of positions across the business – most recently has led EMEA sales strategy for Youtube and the broader Video and Display network, supporting advertiser business growth through media platforms, commercial deals, content solutions, creative services and brand suitability. Dyana started her career in consulting with Accenture UK, where she specialised in Business Intelligence and Digital Strategy across Media and Technology.
Najdi said: “Throughout my Google career I have led multiple business functions while advocating for putting partners at the heart of our work. That’s why I am incredibly excited to step into this role at a time where our creative, media, tech and measurement partners are recognising AI as a tool that will empower and enhance our creativity and data-driven solutions. My team is committed to working with the industry to navigate how our products and partnerships can help to solve shared challenges so that we can focus on effectiveness, helping to power businesses at an unprecedented scale.”
Google has operated in the UK for over 20 years and has approximately 7,000 employees. In January 2022, it announced the purchase of the Central Saint Giles development for $1 billion. It is building a new development in King’s Cross, which will be Google’s most ambitious smart building deployed to date. In October this year, Google and Cambridge University announced a multi-year research collaboration agreement and a Google grant for the University’s new Centre for Human-Inspired AI to support progress in responsible AI that is inspired by and benefits people.