Aquila Insight scoops key players from Co-operative and Acxiom as it scales up for growth

The UK’s fastest growing data analytics company, Aquila Insight, today announced appointments in two newly created senior roles as it gears up for further rapid expansion in the second half of 2015.

Neil Carden joins from the Co-operative Group as director of business development, with Matt Hollingsworth leaving data specialists Acxiom to take a leading role as general manager of Aquila Insight’s growing London office.

Carden is a consumer and commercial heavyweight who has seen first-hand the power of evidence based decision making in a retail setting. As Insight Director at the Co-operative Group he developed its customer proposition through customer research and analysis, customer targeting and the measurement of marketing effectiveness.

Prior to joining the Co-operative Group, Carden held senior roles at a number of major companies including KPMG where he worked with UK banks to make investment decisions and deliver technical and culture change programmes. And at MasterCard he was responsible for the development of its consulting, information products and managed services businesses in the UK and Ireland as well as creating and leading its information and analytics proposition in Europe.

“I have been incredibly impressed by Aquila Insight’s ability to bridge the gap between the technical and business functions and translate data into action,” said Mr Carden. “All big companies have access to vast amounts of data but the way that data is interpreted and applied to decision making is what sets competitors apart. Data is already becoming an important differentiator and it is only going to become more important in future. Aquila Insight changing data into customer and commercial value, I’m delighted to be joining the team.”

Aquila Insight was founded in Edinburgh by John Brodie and Warwick Beresford-Jones in 2012. In less than three years it has grown to employ over 40 staff with a seven figure turnover.

Aquila Insight has successfully attracted large blue chip companies into its client base, including household names Sony Mobile, Boots and Scottish Power. It combines specialist skills with cutting edge tools to get understandable, useful and marketable insights from the vast amounts of data generated by large companies.

The company also has a growing London base which currently employs 12 people. As general manager, Matt Hollingsworth is aiming to double its size over the coming year. Hollingsworth was previously managing account director at Acxiom, the global data and technology business.

Prior to working with Acxiom, Hollingsworth’s experience was in direct marketing but understanding the importance of data for 21st century businesses he made the move away from DM to be at the forefront of the data revolution. He is currently involved with the curriculum committee of the Institute of Direct Marketing and is keen to influence the way students learn about analytics.

At Aquila Insight he will be involved in determining the strategic direction of the London office and building a culture that supports rapid expansion. He will also be involved in business development and will be working closely with Neil Carden.

He said: “I have known Warwick and John for several years and having worked with them on mutual clients I know that the Aquila Insight team are very professional and committed to achieving results. We will be recruiting in the London office and we have tough requirements. We demand a high level of tech expertise but we also need people with the human skills that enable them to interpret analytics and build good relationships with our customers.”

Warwick Beresford-Jones, co-founder and managing partner of Aquila Insight, said: “We are delighted that Neil and Matt have come on board at such an important time in the growth of our business. They bring a great deal of expertise and business acumen so their input will be vital as we target new markets and look to expand beyond the UK. Ours is a fiercely competitive sector but with the right people we can continue to innovate and attract the best talent to work for us and our clients.”

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