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Ascential appoints new chief operating officer

Ascential plc (formerly EMAP, the specialist information, data and events company, has announced the appointment of Paul Harrison as chief operating officer, effective 11 January 2021. He will continue in his role as non-executive director of the company until that date.   

Ascential, which owns the international Cannes Lions Festival, continues to evolve its digitally-focussed business model and Harrison will take responsibility for the company’s people strategies, mergers and acquisitions and other Group functions, including marketing, content and technology. He will report directly to Duncan Painter, Ascential’s CEO.

Harrison has significant experience driving growth in innovative digital businesses, in senior financial and non-executive director roles over the past twenty 20.  Most recently, he was CFO of Just Eat plc from 2016 to 2020. Prior to that, he was CFO of WANDisco plc (data solutions for enterprises) and The Sage Group plc (technology for SMEs). 

Scott Forbes, chairman of Ascential, commented: “Paul has offered tremendous support and guidance to the Ascential Board in a non-executive capacity since our IPO in 2016 and is a proven business leader. As a Board, we look forward to working with Paul in his new role as chief operating officer and executive director, and have no doubt that he will help deliver our long-term growth plans in coming years.”

Paul Harrison said: “I am excited to be joining the highly talented executive team at Ascential. My four years on the Board have seen the business transform at extraordinary pace to become an essential partner to leading, global consumer product groups as they seek to optimise their e-commerce strategies and performance. I greatly look forward to joining the team as an executive and to helping the business to fulfil its enormous potential.”