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The Kite Factory names James Smith CEO amid senior restructure

The Kite Factory has announced a senior management restructure as it continues its significant growth trajectory of recent years.

James Smith has been named CEO of the media shop, which was crowned Independent Media Agency of the Year at last week’s Campaign UK Agency of the Year Awards. He joined the agency in 2011 as a Media Assistant, quickly rising through the ranks to Managing Director in 2020 and, most recently, Chief Growth Officer in 2023.

His promotion is bolstered further with three top-level promotions. Christian Taylor is named Managing Partner, Planning, Caroline Dolan becomes Managing Partner, Charity, and Anthony Abou-Zeid becomes Managing Partner, Clients. All three, who were previously heads of those departments, join fellow Managing Partners Rik Moore and Ben Foster, CFO Byron Garside, and Commercial Director Jonathan Leech, on the agency’s Strategic Leadership Team.

Smith takes over from Robin Trust, who is stepping back from the business after ten years and who the agency says has “led them through some of the most challenging and rewarding times with unwavering integrity and passion.”

The restructure follows The Kite Factory’s fourth consecutive year of growth, having increased its client base by 42% in the past two years and its billings by 38%, with longstanding clients including WaterAid, Lovehoney, David Lloyd Clubs, White Claw, and newer relationships with Redrow, Skin+Me, Crisis and Ricola. Last week the agency announced it had been appointed by Samaritans.

James Smith, CEO, The Kite Factory, said: “It is an enormous honour to be appointed to lead this agency of remarkable people and help deliver success for our roster of brilliant clients. For me, The Kite Factory is defined by its exceptionally smart and dedicated teams, and I know they, together with my exemplary Senior Leadership Team, will ensure this gear change is an entirely seamless one.

“I must extend a huge thanks to Robin for laying such a solid foundation on which I can continue to build as CEO. We have worked very closely together over the past few years, and I wish him all the very best in his next venture.”

Robin Trust said, “It has been a privilege to lead The Kite Factory for the past decade, which culminated in winning Campaign’s Independent Agency of the Year a few weeks ago.

This award is a testament to the hard work, commitment, and passion of the team and the ambition of our brilliant clients—I am hugely grateful. It feels that now is the right time to pass the baton to James, who I’m sure will continue to develop and grow the business. I look forward to seeing their success and progress and will be cheering them on from the sidelines.”