Leadership

Find out more about our executive team at Carat Manchester.

RACHEL MCDONALD

RACHEL MCDONALD

Managing Director | Carat Manchester

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I studied Media to degree level at Leeds University before starting my agency career in London.  After the obligatory ‘year out’ and gaining further experience at Mindshare in Sydney, I moved home to Manchester in 2001 and joined Carat.

In my current role as agency Managing Director, I feel fortunate to lead a talented and passionate team who are focused on delivering effective communication solutions for our clients.  A key part of my role is supporting that team and I place real emphasis on developing our people, ensuring they are well equipped to embrace the challenges we face operating in an increasingly complex media ecosystem.
 
Out of work, life is just as busy, I love spending my time travelling, shopping, eating out, catching up with friends and mostly hanging out with my husband and children.

IAN LEES

IAN LEES

Group Business Director | Carat Manchester

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I joined the agency in December 1996 as part of the core management team. Over the years my role as has seen me manage the Digital teams, be MD of the agency’s performance marketing brand, and more recently head up Group Business Development.  I now lead a client services team responsible for the Legal, Financial, Charity and Retail sectors.  My varied roles in the business mean that I specialise in the creation, integration and management of holistic digital and offline media campaigns.

I am a keen sailor and try to keep fit, having run the New York Marathon and the Great North Run twice. At home I live on a farm with my wife and youngest of three daughters, who are both mad on horses.

JILL THOMAS

JILL THOMAS

Group Business Director | Carat Manchester

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I joined the company as Board Director in 2001, having previously worked at J Walter Thompson and McCann Erickson.  

I have a wealth of experience in strategic media planning across brand, retail and direct response marketing, incorporating business-to-consumer and business-to-business sectors.  I am highly focused on delivering excellent service to all my clients. My key clients currently include Barratt Homes, Magnet Kitchens, Yorkshire, Clydesdale and Northern Banks.

In terms of hobbies I am into skiing and Manchester City. I have a personal trainer as I like to stay fit, healthy and strong. I don’t have any kids but live with my partner in Cheshire.

JAMES REDDINGTON

JAMES REDDINGTON

Group Business Director | Carat Manchester

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I graduated from Staffordshire University with a BA (Hons) in Business Studies. I then joined TSMS in London as a Sales Executive in 1993, working on airtime sales across Central, Anglia and Ulster television. After a year, I returned to Manchester and joined CIA Media Solutions as a Media Research Executive. I then joined EMAP Radio as Sales Manager, in 1995.

In 1997 I joined the agency and was promoted to Director in 2004. I have considerable media and marketing experience, working with a number of blue chip clients. I excel in client services and I am absolutely focused on delivering great results for our clients, both in terms of how we buy media and the ROI their media plans generate.

Away from work I am married and have two lovely children.

CHARLES REID

CHARLES REID

Group Business Director | Carat Manchester

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I’ve been with Carat since 1999, becoming an Account Director in 2004. Having worked across a number of disciplines, I specialise in clients with a strong digital bias. My experience includes Thomas Cook, StubHub, Netflights, Danske Bank, Ageas Retail, Topps Tiles, Bupa, E.ON and Vivid Imaginations.

I graduated with a BA (Hons) from Hull University / University of California; and worked at Guardian Media Group and Chrysalis Radio before joining the agency.

I tend to waste spend a lot of time and money on technology and gadgets.

CHARLIE VARLEY

CHARLIE VARLEY

Planning Director | Carat Manchester

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After 24 years working in London agencies across a diverse UK and International Client base including Tech, Motoring, Retail, Fashion and Drinks, I joined Carat in Manchester in 2006 as its first Planning Director.

Today I run a client base focusing on retail, property and tourism. I am also involved in wider UK Media Industry bodies such as The Audit Bureau of Circulations, where I am a director and member of its Finance Committee.

I’ve been accredited by UK trade magazines as the architect of two out of their top 10 “The World’s Best Campaigns”. I have collected numerous other media and effectiveness awards, including the once ever awarded “Special Award for Media” at the IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards.

I am married with four grown up children, none of whom have followed me into the media business, and which continues to be for me, the best job in the world!

Peter Metcalfe

Peter Metcalfe

Head of Digital - Director | Carat

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I joined the agency in July 2009 as a Graduate in the digital team. Since joining I have held roles across both Carat and iProspect. Having built one of the largest agency Affiliate teams of its kind in the UK, I joined the Carat board at the start of 2016 in a newly created Head of Digital role.

My remit encompasses both digital strategy and operations across Carat. Fundamentally, this means defining the overall agency digital strategy, enhancing existing digital channel execution, identifying emerging digital trends and navigating our talented people through the digital ecosystem;  with the end goal of delivering positive business performance for our clients. I also form a conduit between Carat and the rest of the Dentsu Aegis Network in Manchester and our wider group, in order to ensure we are accessing all the relevant digital specialisms and products for our clients.

In my spare time I enjoy eating out, travelling to new places and attending gigs with my Wife. I also support the red side of the Manchester footballing divide.

JO KENNEDY

JO KENNEDY

Client Services Director | Carat Manchester

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I studied a degree in Retail Marketing at MMU, which included work placements in the marketing department at Williams, and agencies TMD Carat and Universal McCann. After graduation I worked at Universal McCann and joined Carat in 2003 as Associate Director, working up to Director.

Originally I specialised in DR advertising working on accounts such as Next Directory and Alliance & Leicester. I now work specifically with retail and digital clients.

On a personal level I am getting married this year and have a four year old daughter Matilda.

LIZ CHAPMAN

LIZ CHAPMAN

Client Services Director | Carat Manchester

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I joined Carat in 2014, but I developed my love of the media industry during University in Newcastle through setting up a radio station and becoming Student Brand Manager for the Guardian. Then reality bit and I realised getting paid for doing something I loved could be a good idea, so I packed my bags and headed for the bright lights of  London.

I started my career at Starcom Motive in 1999, where I cut my trading teeth on the likes of P&G TV and honed my planning skills on a pretty diverse mix from United Biscuits, Natwest & Nintendo to T-Mobile (One2One as it was then).

I left Starcom, backpacked around the world for a year then came back and joined MediaCom where I stayed for the next 10 years in a variety of roles but focusing predominantly on planning and client services. I love getting under the skin of client's businesses; each client is unique and working with them to meet their challenges within the ever evolving media landscape makes the job addictive.

JON HALL

JON HALL

Client Services Director | Carat Manchester

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After graduating with a BA in Art History and English Literature, I started my career in Liverpool Agency RGR&J. After learning the basics, I moved on and joined JWT Manchester and then McCann Erickson.

I joined the agency as a Director in 2000. My experience is rooted within online and offline performance marketing across a wide range of clients and sectors including Financial Services, Mail Order, and Travel.

Weekends and holidays are spent balancing family life with improving my golf handicap. 

ALEXIA HARPER

ALEXIA HARPER

Client Services Director | Carat

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With a degree in Cultural and Media Communications, I spent six month working in Italy before returning to sunny Manchester in 2008 to start my career in media at Carat. In March 2015 I was promoted to Client Services Director.

With extensive experience in strategic media planning and account management I have worked across Fashion, Retail, Travel, Home Furnishings, Legal and Insurance sectors having led holistic strategies for brand, retail and direct response. I pride myself on delivering exceptional service and value to my clients, viewing both myself and the team as an extension of their internal marketing teams.

I enjoy nothing more than getting under the skin of the challenges faced by each client, understanding the wider business context and working closely together in delivering innovative solutions which challenge convention. Having worked with brands such as National Accident Helpline, JD Williams, Manchester Airport Group, Eurocamp, Victoria Plumb and Grosvenor Estates, I’m passionate about understanding the drivers of accountable business growth against a backdrop of declining linear response.

Outside of work, I love to travel and have a real passion for the arts trying to experience gigs in all corners of the globe. I live with my partner in Cheshire and our demanding cat, Nico.

ALEX STURGESS

ALEX STURGESS

Client Services Director | Carat

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I graduated from Leicester University with a First-class honours degree in History. Whilst studying I carried out work experience with Ogilvy & Mather and secured a summer role with JWT; it was then that I first discovered my passion for media. 

My first job was as a broadcast planner/buyer before moving to ITV, where I spent 8 years as one of their senior managers - working on accounts such as bet365, Dr Oetker and PZ Cussons, as well as leading the launch of Netflix in the UK. I joined Carat in 2012, to develop holistic media solutions which deliver the strongest return against client objectives. I now lead a team responsible for advertisers within the retail, healthcare, leisure and tourism sectors – including clients such as Pets at Home, Safestyle UK, Mr Green, Silentnight Beds and the British Medical Association.

Living in ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ country I spend most of my personal time in the great outdoors – walking, running or cycling. Basically, anything which helps me to justify indulging in my other great loves of food and drink! A keen Barnsley FC fan, I’m obviously just a glutton for punishment!

LUCY BARNES

LUCY BARNES

Strategy Director | Carat Manchester

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I started my career in London and moved to Manchester to begin working at Carat in January 2013. I am an accomplished media professional with experience in some of the world's leading agencies.

I have led teams across multiple disciplines to deliver award-winning campaigns for a variety of household names. My credits include innovative, integrated strategies for brands such as Lexus, Hardy’s Wine, Pets At Home, L’Oreal, Oxfam, Nando’s, IWC Watches, Cartier, ghd, Thomas Cook and Arcadia Group.

My insight into future opportunities presented by a constantly changing communications landscape and understanding of consumers, businesses and brands ensures that I am in demand not only as a strategist but also as an innovation workshop facilitator. I am a professionally trained innovation workshop facilitator. I aim to inject innovation into every piece of thinking and day-to-day agency life.

I am passionate about the personal development of those around me and commit regular time to train, nurture and encourage the talent that exists within the Dentsu Aegis Network, Manchester.

LINDSEY COOK

LINDSEY COOK

Print Director | Carat Manchester

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I started my career at TMD Manchester, where I worked for 6 years, primarily on direct response and retail clients.  I joined the agency in 1996 and since then have focused primarily on press and inserts. My knowledge of the print market ensures I always deliver the best possible value to our clients.

My experience of direct response clients includes JD Williams, Littlewoods, Plumbs, Hidden Hearing, BCA and Bradford Exchange.

On a personal note, I am married to Mike and have two children, Joshua & Archie, who keep me very busy. Our family interests including walking, visiting the cinema and standing on a touchline on a cold Sunday morning during rugby season.

CHRIS GORDON

CHRIS GORDON

Business Development Director | Carat Manchester

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I have worked in business development for over fifteen years and have been responsible for building relationships with brands including BMW, Barclays, Sony PlayStation and Waitrose.

At Carat I lead the identification and development of new client relationships. A passionate connector, I love identifying opportunities to grow businesses and solve commercial challenges.

When not spotting opportunities I am kept busy chasing after my young twin children or spending time watching (enduring?) my beloved Everton.