VERSA announces two senior appointments as demand for conversational AI gains further traction
World-leading conversational agency VERSA has bolstered its team with two senior appointments in response to growing uptake in conversational AI technology across various sectors. Vanessa Tout has been appointed Global Head of Client Partnerships and Growth, while Michael Oso-Hughes comes on board as Design Director.
Vanessa joins VERSA CEO Kath Blackham and Managing Director Michael Di Natale, on the executive leadership team. She takes responsibility for driving growth across new business and existing client partnerships in key markets, including Australia, the US and India. By leading the newly formed Growth Team, Vanessa will bring together marketing, new business and client services experts, providing a holistic experience to clients at every stage of engagement.
A client engagement native with 15 years’ experience across the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Vanessa has led strategic digital and commerce programs for brands including GM Holden, T2, Lloyds Banking Group, Marks & Spencer and Goodyear Dunlop. She joins from her role as Client Partner at Isobar. Vanessa also spent five years as Client Director at London-based Digitas UK.
Michael will lead VERSA’s design offering, from approach and methodology through to voice UX and UI. A certified conversational AI designer and RASA conversational AI developer, he will also add his expertise to the agency’s team of conversational AI experts shaping the future of conversational design.
Michael joins with a strong pedigree working on some of the world’s most recognisable brands for clients, including Samsung, Microsoft, ING, Disney, Unilever, and Cancer Institute of NSW at agencies including Isobar, Soap and The Monkeys.
Kath Blackham said: “We’re excited to have two amazing talents of the quality of Vanessa and Michael join us to take on these incredibly important roles. Vanessa is one of the best in the business, with loads of experience leading digital transformation engagements at scale and galvanising cross-functional teams to deliver exceptional results. That combination makes her the ideal fit to drive our client engagement and partnerships as we grow our business locally and globally.”
“Michael has already made a big impact in a short amount of time, both through his work and his infectious personality and passion for his craft that makes everyone around him better too. He’s an incredible thinker, brilliant creative with an ideal skill set including conversational AI and voice that made his appointment an extremely easy decision for us.”
Vanessa said: “I’m thrilled to join VERSA to drive the next phase of growth in conversational AI, contact centre automation and voice technology at a time when meaningful dialogue between brands and people has never been more important. As organisations grapple with the need to deliver more personalised experiences while generating operational efficiencies, VERSA is uniquely positioned to help clients make sense of this emerging technology to deliver simpler, smarter and more valuable customer experiences.”
“I’m also proud to be working for a company that is pioneering flexible working practices and fostering a progressive, diverse and motivated culture.”
Michael said: “It’s an honour to join the VERSA team of thinkers, problem solvers and creators working at the cutting edge of conversational AI globally. I’m already blown away by the calibre of work we’re delivering. It’s going to be an exciting and rewarding experience to build upon such innovative foundations.”
The senior appointments continue VERSA’s strong business growth and momentum in 2021, including new business wins State Trustees, Wilson Parking, Transgrid and Plan Partners, the appointment of Managing Director Michael Di Natale and the launch of the agency’s world-first navigation-less website.