Pemsel will lead the business as chief executive; Marks will become ‘chief magic officer’, overseeing creative output and brand guardianship; and Dexter will become chief growth and purpose officer, focusing on growth, purpose, business ethics, values and culture.
All three will be partners and have equity in the business, which has offices in London and New York.
The entire 115-strong TCS workforce and client portfolio will immediately transition into the venture, operating under the ScienceMagic.Inc brand. Clients include brands such as Warner Bros UK, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Pinterest, among others.
ScienceMagic.Inc says it will partner brands to “define and articulate their purpose, develop their commercial strategies and build their digital interfaces”.
It said in a statement: “ScienceMagic.Inc believes fundamentally in the unique power of the connection between Magic, the art of real engagement through storytelling, communication and creativity; Science, the intelligent use of data and AI to inform strategy and identify business-building opportunities; and Experience, the creation of digital product, technology and interfaces that connect directly with the consumer.”
Pemsel led the Guardian Media Group through digital transformation and has been credited with helping the business grow from a forecast loss of $100m in 2015 to its first operating profit for 25 years in 2019 – one of the more remarkable recent turnarounds in the media industry.
He was previously appointed to replace Richard Scudamore as chief executive of the Premier League, but resigned before taking up the role after The Sun ran an inaccurate article about his private life last November, for which it has since apologised.
Of the new agency, Pemsel said: “ScienceMagic.Inc is grounded in three core capabilities of Strategic Science, Creative Magic and Digital Experience to grow real and enduring value for both brands and people of influence.
Established brands urgently need immediate solutions to make the shift in a post-COVID world, from offline to a new physical, digital, mobile and virtual world. Personality and purpose are the future of all brands and all consumers are looking for inspiration in a new world of genuine engagement and entertainment.”
Dexter said the coronavirus crisis has “focused us single-mindedly on radically reinventing the future of brand, talent and business-building”.
She added: “ScienceMagic.Inc is our future. An agile, new model company that focuses only on building the brands and businesses of tomorrow through true partnership and purpose. I have always believed that purpose has to be the foundation of any business success. No brand or individual will succeed unless they can articulate their 'reason for being' well, beyond financial success.”
Marks added: “ScienceMagic.Inc’s ambition is to bring real meaning and purpose to our connections with brands and people. We champion the magic behind our interaction with brands and people and empower that magic with science. In our role as brand guardians we use data, AI and technology to amplify great creative thinking, develop exceptional consumer entertainment platforms and build sustainable commercial businesses.”