Clarity hires Grayling’s Jon Meakin as first North America president

The firm also created a head of client services position and hired a New York MD.

New Clarity hire Jon Meakin
New Clarity hire Jon Meakin

NEW YORK: Clarity has named Jon Meakin to the newly created position of North American president.

Meakin started in the job on September 1, reporting to COO Alex MacLaverty. Meakin will be in charge of operations of the firm’s New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. 

“It’s an investment in growth,” Clarity founder and CEO Sami McCabe said. “We had a really good year, all things considered. We did a great job of weathering the storm through the pandemic and are seeing a pretty significant uptake in new business. So we are hiring to fuel that and support that, and we are at a point where we need to bring in some additional leadership in the U.S.”

He said the firm’s focus on technology has helped it weather COVID-19, predicting that revenue will grow 50% this year. McCabe added that the agency’s headcount grew from 31 last September to 61 this month.

“[The new role] is mainly a structural thing,” he said. “Prior to Meakin joining, we were set up as a bunch of geographic P&Ls, and there was a lot of pressure on myself and [MacLaverty] to oversee the reporting for those P&Ls. To create more time and headspace for me and [MacLaverty] to focus on big-picture stuff and moving the business to the next level, we needed to free up some of our time and a neat way to do that was bring in a senior person in the U.S.”

The firm will also tap into Meakin’s experience at larger agencies to help Clarity deal with that growth, McCabe said. 

The agency is making other changes, as well, he added. The shop is considering a move to one P&L and hiring staff while planning to announce an acquisition.

“We’re hoping to close another deal in the next four to six weeks,” McCabe said. “Beyond that, we’ll be using M&A to accelerate growth, adding new regions and new capabilities and experience in new verticals and categories. We expect to be very active on the M&A front for years to come.”

Prior to joining Clarity, Meakin was global head of strategic services and San Francisco MD at Grayling. A Grayling representative could not be reached for comment.

Clarity also promoted New York MD Ruth Sarfaty to the newly created role of North American head of client services. Sarfaty is reporting to MacLaverty.

“A big goal for us is to be sure the client experience is exceptional and also consistent right across the company and making sure we have the resources to ensure that,” McCabe said. 

The firm also hired Kara Silverman to replace Sarfaty as New York MD. Prior to Clarity, Silverman ran her own consultancy and was global head of marketing for Acast, a podcasting company. Silverman is reporting to Meakin.

Clarity’s 2019 revenue grew 27% to $6.2 million, according to PRWeek’s 2020 Agency Business Report.

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