IPA appoints three agency heads to key membership positions

The IPA has boosted its leadership teams with the appointments of Christian Byron, Gill Jarvie and James Ray.

OMD’s Chief Operating Officer, Christian Byron takes over as IPA Commercial Leadership Group Chair, while Gill Jarvie, Republic of Media’s Head of Client Services, is the new IPA Chair for Scotland and Armadillo’s Chief Executive Officer, James Ray, is the new IPA City Head for Bristol, Cardiff and the South West.

Christian takes over as IPA Commercial Leadership Group Chair from Marc Nohr following his instrumental four years in the post. For his agenda, Christian will be focussing on helping IPA agencies to achieve sustainable growth. A core output of which will be the flagship IPA Business Growth Conference that takes place this year on 6 July at County Hall.

In addition, Gill Jarvie succeeds David Shearer as IPA Chair for Scotland, while James Ray replaces Mike Leeson as IPA City Head for Bristol, Cardiff and the South West. Mike had previously held several roles at the IPA including as a Council member. As IPA Chair for Scotland, Gill will represent Scottish agencies at the IPA Council, while both Gill and James will serve as figureheads for the industry in their areas.

I’m delighted to welcome Christian, Gill and James into their new positions. I know they will provide valuable guidance and expertise to our wider agency community as we continue to recover from the pandemic. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Marc, David and Mike for their years of dedication and service to the IPA.

Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA

Full details on Christian and Gill’s agendas will be announced in the coming months.


Christian Byron, IPA Commercial Leadership Group Chair

Christian began his career jointly running a small publishing business alongside spells at the British Council and BBC, before joining OMD UK’s Investment team in 2001. Working across a range of trading functions he also developed the agencies market intelligence output and led systems development for the team before being promoted to Head of Investment in 2013.

After a spell working in account management, leading accounts such as PSA and Camelot, Christian was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2018. He is now responsible for helping the agency to maximise operational efficiency and commercial performance, whilst developing the operational models and capabilities needed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of OMD UK’s clients.

Gill Jarvie, IPA Chair for Scotland

Gill started her career in media sales working on brands such as the Daily Mail and Virgin Radio, before moving agency side to Faulds Advertising where her clients included Royal Bank of Scotland and The Macallan. She then spent 10 years at Feather Brooksbank (latterly Carat), as Board Director heading up Comms Planning and working with clients such as Standard Life, VisitScotland and EasyJet.

Following a two-year career break in which she moved to Montreal with her husband and two young boys, she spent two years in Washington DC where she worked as a consultant and gained her diploma in Digital Marketing.

Seven years ago, Gill returned from the USA and joined independent media agency start-up Republic of Media. Gill has helped to grow the company from five people to 63 with billings of over £100m. A Director at Republic of Media she currently heads up Client Service in the Edinburgh office and spearheads the Scottish Government account. Gill is passionate about social and behaviour change marketing. She is also involved in a number of groups promoting the role of women in advertising and marketing.

James Ray, IPA City Head for Bristol, Cardiff and the South West

James Ray is Chief Executive Officer of Armadillo, the award-winning, independent CRM agency headquartered in Bristol, whose clients include McDonald's, Disney, P&O Cruises and Cunard.

Joining Armadillo in 1996, James rose from Account Executive through to Managing Director, and in 2017 he became CEO after leading a successful management buy-out. His expert knowledge and drive have seen him spearhead Armadillo’s evolution into one of the UK’s most successful independent CRM specialists.

With a hybrid of skills and experience covering data, planning, and client service, James is a leader who delivers inspired strategic direction with a down-to-earth attitude.

Last updated 01 May 2024