Samantha Screene joins Synechron's HR team in London

03 August 2018

Global financial services consultancy Synechron has appointed a new Associate Director to its human resources team in London. Samantha Screene is a professional with more than 20 years of experience in the HR field.

With heightened competition, as digital disruption sees a number of new up-and-coming firms able to compete with top entities for key talent, the human resources function has become increasingly important across all industries. In the knowledge-intensive realm of financial and professional services, this pressure is being felt particularly acutely.

Since its launch in 2001, just as the dot-com bubble burst, Synechron – a global technology organisation providing innovative solutions to the financial space – has grown into one of the globe’s leading technology and consulting firms for the financial services sector. As the consultancy looks to support clients amid intensifying competition for staff, with the UK’s labour market tightening thanks to an ageing population and anxieties around Brexit, Synechron has installed a new Associate Director in its HR division.

Samantha Screene joins Synechron's HR team in London

The appointment of Samantha Screene brings over 20 years of HR experience to Synechron’s London office, as the veteran professional arrives from the Direct Line Group. In that last engagement, she was responsible for leading an HR Business Partner team to co-create a three-year people strategy, which included a new performance framework, simplifying and reducing enterprise policies and improving employee engagement and experience. Before taking her role with RBS’ HR division, which would later be bought by Direct Line, in 2008 she was appointed HR Business Partner for T-Mobile, and led the HR element of the business during its merger with Orange. Screene also previously worked across a wide range of industries, with companies including RBS, Tesco, Raytheon and IVAX.

Screene will be reporting to John Gaunt, CHRO at Synechron, while her addition to the team will build on the Employee 2020 initiative announced earlier this year. The scheme promotes the five key values of the business to current staff and prospective candidates; focusing on ambition, innovation, empowerment, responsibility and a drive for excellence. The Employee 2020 aims to attract fresh new talent to the business while recognising the achievements of its current team through rewards, career progression and mentorship opportunities.

Commenting on the news, Tony Clark, Managing Director at Synechron UK, said, “We are committed to striving for excellence – not only in the services we provide, but also in the way we engage with our staff and invest in our people. Samantha’s extensive experience across a broad range of industries will ensure that employees across all areas of the business – from technology to sales – have the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their role.”

Samantha Screene herself added, “Financial services can be a highly pressurised environment, so it is important that staff feel supported. HR plays a key role in achieving that goal and building a team that feels motivated and engaged. As an innovative and faced-paced company, Synechron understands the enormous value that employees produce every day and I am thrilled to be leading this part of the business.”


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Accenture's Rothco installs new Executive Creative Director

24 April 2019

Jen Speirs is set to take over from Alan Kelly as the Executive Creative Director of Accenture Interactive-owned agency Rothco. Speirs arrives as Kelly takes up the role of Chief Creative Officer at the firm.

Rothco is a full-service creative agency based in Dublin. Founded in 1995, the firm contains more than 150 strategic, creative, technology, design, project management and production professionals located in Ireland’s capital city. The agency strategically plans, designs and produces powerful communications campaigns across Europe for numerous iconic brands, including Tesco, Heineken and Lyons. Internationally recognised for its prowess in the sector, Rothco notably found success at the Cannes Lions awards in both 2015 and 2016.

Such success inevitably drew the eye of Accenture during its extended spending spree to strengthen its digital design and advertising offerings, housed under the Accenture Interactive moniker. A year after purchasing Rothco, Accenture Interactive has since continued this push into the advertising space, acquiring New York and London-based agency Droga5 earlier this month, and adding illustrious clients such as HBO, Amazon and The New York Times to its roster of clients. Despite its purchase, Rothco has also been undergoing its own period of change, however.

With the news that long-term incumbent Alan Kelly had won a promotion from his position as Executive Creative Director (ECD), the agency commenced a hunt for his replacement. Kelly joined Rothco nine years ago as a Copywriter, and has now worked his way up to the role of Chief Creative Officer. Assuming that office, he will pass on his previous role to Jen Speirs, who exits BMF Australia, relocating half way around the world to fill the vacancy.

Accenture's Rothco installs new Executive Creative Director

Speirs was appointed BMF’s Deputy Executive Creative Director in March 2018, having joined BMF as a creative director in 2016 from her previous role at Foxtel, where she was a Freelance Creative Director. Following her arrival at BMF, she worked across brands such as McDonald’s, Carefree, Arnott’s, Berlei, TAL, Bonds, BWS, UN Women and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, while her work has picked up awards at NY Festivals, Clio, AWARD, Cannes, Effies, Media Federation, Caples, and Spikes Asia. Speirs also worked at DDB Sydney as Creative Director for six years, with clients such as Telstra, Lipton and Johnson & Johnson.

Commenting on her new challenge, Speirs said, "When I look at a lot of Rothco's work, like JFK Unsilenced, the #takenotice breast cancer campaign on the Molly Malone Statue, Sleeping Flags – it all has that perfect combination of creativity, innovation and craft… So the opportunity to go and be a part of that, and work with the awesome people I’ve met so far, was far too good to say no to. I can’t wait to get over there and get stuck in.”

Remarking on Speirs’ arrival, Kelly added, "I am chuffed we have poached someone as incredibly talented as Jen Speirs. I think it’s a testament to the work we are doing in Rothco that we are attracting world-class talent like Jen to these shores. Jen is a super addition to the team as she is both gifted and decent, two qualities we always look for when we hire. I also may have told her that Dublin's weather is pretty much the same as Sydney's – hopefully, she hasn't fact-checked this yet."

Related: Accenture's push into the creative sector is an identity crisis.