Rio Cyrus, Eric Geiger and Serene Karmi Named Managing Partners at Essence

Essence, a data-driven global agency and part of GroupM, announced three senior hires to the NBCUniversal account.  Rio Cyrus has been named Managing Partner, NBC Communications Lead; Eric Geiger has been named Managing Partner, Strategic Planning Director, Film; and Serene Karmi has been named Managing Partner, Director, Focus Features.  The appointments follow the recent announcement that, after working with Essence on several data planning and strategy assignments, NBCUniversal is migrating the remainder of its North America media spend to the agency, effective January 2018.

Cyrus will lead a strategic team to work in conjunction with NBC, establishing a vision and marketing strategy for the network’s programming roster.  She most recently served as Global Senior Vice President of Television, Home Entertainment, at 20th Century Fox, and has led marketing for numerous television and theatrical partnerships including MGM, FX, 20th Television and Fox 21, and held marketing posts at The Walt Disney Company.

Geiger will oversee the Universal and Focus Pictures accounts, driving brand strategy and innovation.  He joins Essence’s NBCU team from Mindshare Los Angeles, where he ran the Lionsgate Entertainment portfolio.  Earlier, he led the LA operation for Moxie, overseeing work on Hulu, FX and Hallmark.

Karmi will lead the integrated media approach for Focus Features, providing strategic thought leadership and actionable insights for both the agency and client.  For the past four years, she’s led the FX Networks account, most recently while serving at Media Assembly.  Earlier, she spent 10 years in marketing at 20th Century Fox.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Eric, Rio and Serene to the Essence leadership team. Their deep industry knowledge and experience make them invaluable additions to the NBCU account.  I’m looking forward to working together to continue to drive groundbreaking strategies for our clients,” said Pam Sullivan, President, Global Client Director at Essence.

With the migration of the NBCU account from Maxus, Essence will gain upwards of 230 people who will work out of offices in LA, New York and Minneapolis.  Maxus has been engaged with NBCU since 2011, when they won the traditional media responsibilities for 18 film and television business units across North America and Canada.  In 2014, the partnership broadened when digital media was added to their remit.  The addition of NBCU to the Essence client roster marks the agency’s expansion into operating as a data-driven, full service agency.

All three new hires have begun their remits out of the Maxus Los Angeles office, which is transitioning to Essence.  Karmi will report into Geiger, while Cyrus and Geiger will report into Sullivan.

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