Publicis names David Rusli chief strategy and data officer

The agency has combined its data and strategy capabilities as one business function to take a more human view on analytics.

Publicis Media Canada has promoted David Rusli to the new role of chief strategy and data officer.

Rusli will be leading a practice that melds strategy, data and research to create experiences that drive business outcomes.

“This appointment is a response to the skills that we have within this team, and a need we are seeing more and more with our clients,” says Alastair Taylor, CEO, Publicis Media.

Taylor warns that the mistake often made is putting technologists who are not often skilled at understanding human behaviours in charge of this sort of department, “when what we have done is focus our strategist’s inherent curiosity into technology.”

Parent Publicis Groupe, which in July reported its Q2 revenue returned to pre-pandemic levels, also recently laid out a strategic direction built around developing digital platforms and data offerings.

With the move, Taylor tells MiC that Publicis is “now a heavyweight” in interpreting what he calls “meaningful” data. Rusli and the team will help drive new product innovation, helping bridge the gap between such data and actionable analytics through a human lens.

According to Taylor, the future of media lies in humanizing data. “We all have more data than we will ever need, but if it tells a narrative that isn’t rooted in human behaviour then it becomes low value.”

Formerly Publicis Media’s EVP, head of strategy and research, Rusli was officially appointed to his new role with a mandate to develop proprietary innovations, data-driven products, and new ways of working for Publicis Media in Canada.

He was also instrumental in crafting a focused D&I strategy for Publicis Media, as one of the founding members of the D&I committee within Publicis Groupe, and plays an active role in mitigating bias and ensuring diverse representation.