BIG names new chief executive and bolsters board with two new appointments

BIG Partnership has unveiled Allan Barr, our director of digital, design and marketing, as our new chief executive.

We have has also appointed associate directors Gayle Grant and Euan Blair as full board directors and promoted account director Charlene Sweeney to associate director.

Allan Barr joined BIG as an account director in 2007 after working in senior communications roles with ‘Big Four’ professional services companies KPMG and PWC.

He led a number of the agency’s major PR accounts and was appointed a board director in 2010. Over the last few years, Allan has spearheaded BIG’s successful diversification into digital, marketing and design, working closely with teams throughout the business, with direct responsibility for some of BIG’s key accounts.

BIG’s chairman, Malcolm McPherson said: “The creation of the chief executive role is a significant element in BIG’s plans for continued growth, driving forward a range of additional steps to strengthen our position as a forward-thinking, top-performing creative agency.

“In Allan, we’ve got a chief executive who cares passionately about BIG, our clients and our team. He has played a central role in the company’s success over the past decade and more and has an in-depth understanding and knowledge of all sides of the business – PR, digital, marketing and creative.

“He is the right person to lead us on the next stage of our evolution to become one of the UK’s leading integrated marketing and communications agencies.”

Allan Barr said: “I’ve now spent more than half of my career at BIG and am hugely excited to take on the role of CEO. Clearly it is a challenging time, but marketing and communications services have never been more important for organisations. The current climate means businesses are going to have to work harder than ever to recover from the economic shock suffered as a result of the coronavirus. The encouraging thing from my perspective is that we are already working with our clients to prepare for that recovery.”

Commenting on trends in the industry, Barr said: “At its heart, BIG has always been a creative agency and the talent within the business at the moment is stronger than it has ever been. We made the strategic decision to invest heavily in digital marketing and creative services over a decade ago and during that time BIG has evolved from being a PR-led business into a true full-service agency.

“Over the last few years, we have witnessed an increasing trend of clients looking to take advantage of a one-agency approach. There are huge efficiencies to be gained from a client perspective, and given the current climate, I anticipate that trend will accelerate. Our ability to offer a full suite of marketing, PR and creative services under one roof gives us a real advantage.”

BIG has also strengthened its board with the appointments of associate directors Euan Blair and Gayle Grant to become full board members. Charlene Sweeney becomes an associate director.

 

Gayle Grant is BIG’s head of energy, based in our Aberdeen office, and joined BIG in 2010 from a Manchester PR agency after beginning her career in journalism. She has been at the heart of BIG’s success in expanding its oil, gas and energy client base.

 

With over 16 years of digital marketing experience, Euan Blair joined BIG in 2015 and now leads our digital marketing team and creative studio. He originally headed BIG’s PPC and SEO offering before taking on responsibility for the wider digital marketing team.

 

Account director Charlene Sweeney, who heads some of BIG’s most prominent PR clients, is promoted to associate director. Charlene joined BIG in 2010 after a successful career in journalism with Scottish Television, the Sunday Herald and The Times.

Malcolm McPherson added: “Both Gayle and Euan have made significant contributions to the growth and development of BIG and we believe their knowledge and energy as full board members will be major assets for us over the coming years. Charlene Sweeney is also one of Scotland’s leading PR operators and her promotion recognises the central role she plays at BIG.”