Steve Bell appointed as Iris Global CEO, and Ian Millner named Iris Chairman

Steve Bell appointed as Iris Global CEO, and Ian Millner named Iris Chairman

28 June 2021

We are excited to announce that we have appointed co-founder, Steve Bell, as our new global chief executive officer. Steve is set to take the reins of the agency with immediate effect and will be responsible for propelling the performance of our 14 offices forward in a post-pandemic world.

Steve has previously held the role of European and North American CEO and for the last three years has been deputy global chief executive officer, reporting to co-founder and global chief executive officer, Ian Millner, who will be assuming the role of chairman.

Ian will continue to be an active player in the agency, remaining immersed in key clients such as adidas, as well as focusing on global growth. In addition to his position as Iris’ Chairman, Ian will be taking on a new role within parent network, Cheil, where he will be responsible for unifying and driving growth efforts amongst the Cheil and the affiliate agencies such as BMB, Barbarian and McKinney.

Along with changes to global leadership, we have also announced two new members of our executive board. Harriet Shurville, who joined the agency in early 2020, will be joining the board in her role as chief people officer. Harriet will oversee the HR functions for Iris, driving the People strategy across all regions. Since Harriet’s arrival, Iris has benefitted from a number of positive changes in terms of its people practices, including the launch of Iris’ diversity, equity and inclusion strategy resulting in significant improvement in its gender pay gap.

Jill Smith, chief marketing officer for North America, will also be joining the executive board. Jill has been leading the new business and marketing efforts across the US for the past two years, in that time the region has experienced exponential growth. In the midst of the global pandemic, Jill helped Iris welcome 14 new logos onto their client list including brand giant PayPal, smashing growth targets in a year that challenged like no other. Already less than 6 months in 2021, the NA leadership team, has secured agency of record remits with Bentley, Alight, Winn-Dixie, and a global remit with Verisign.

Ian Millner, Founder and Chairman of Iris, said:Being at Iris is more than just a job, it’s who we are. Change is always exciting and having led our business for more than 20 years, I think that now is a good time hand the honour to Steve and Claire. I’ve been enjoying working closely with clients over the last few months and I’m really excited to let the incredible potential of the Cheil network and sister agencies loose.”

Steve Bell, Founder and Global CEO of Iris added: “It’s a huge honour to be taking on the role of Global CEO at an agency I helped found over 20 years ago.  Having worked closely with all of our offices in my regional roles, I know that there’s no better time to be taking the Iris network forward into this post-pandemic world. The bounce back is definitely on, and with the support of the global leadership team I can’t wait to realise our potential on a global scale.”

Last month Iris appointed another one of its founders, Claire Humphris, as chief executive officer of its headquarters in London.

Iris newsletter

Be the first to hear what we’re up to

We use cookies to make this website work better for you and to track site visits anonymously. You can opt out if you like.Tell me more