James GP At Race

Meet our Group Chief Financial Officer

Describe your career in five words

A loyal relationship with Excel!

Previously our Group Corporate Strategy Director, you’ve recently been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Congratulations! With that in mind, I wonder if you could talk us through some of your highlights at CSM to date, and where you’d like to see the business, and the industry as a whole, continuing to grow in the coming years?

Thank you! I’ve been at CSM for four years, now, and during that time my main focus has been on leading our M&A efforts. In that period, we’ve made some really exciting moves, including bringing the performance marketing experts at Greenroom Digital into the CSM family back in 2021. That business unit, re-christened as our Digital & Data team, are moving both our business and the wider industry forward, creating greater financial accountability around partnership spend.

More recently, we acquired the specialist cricket agency Phoenix Management Group, who represent a number of the world’s leading English cricket talent. I think that truly reinforces our position as market leaders in cricket in the UK, and there is a fantastic opportunity there to further build on that.

Both are fantastic, fast growing businesses and have helped expand our service offerings within two distinct growth areas. M&A has been an important growth driver for CSM and I’m sure it will continue to be so in the future. The success of Greenroom and Phoenix since joining CSM tallies to the broader picture of growth that we have seen over the last few years.

Looking to the future, there are a number of regions seeing particularly impressive growth and we are looking to double down on these areas, not least the Middle East. Sport is flourishing here, their ambition for the future is unmatched and it has been great to see our Middle Eastern teams firmly at the centre of this growth.

CSM is a global agency that continues to expand into new markets and territories. Yet, despite our growing size, we still retain that challenger mindset. Why do you think that is important, and what is it about CSM that makes it a true challenger to the big agencies operating in sport and entertainment?

CSM is an agency whose origin story is one of acquisition. Since inception, we have acquired and brought together 15 of the industry’s bravest agencies and reorganised those into a unified contender brand.

Many of the founders of those acquired businesses are still here, though, and the unique benefit of having them leading our key areas is that it builds an entrepreneurial culture throughout the company. That mindset informs our approach to client briefs and campaigns, and we’re not afraid to do things a little differently; by doing that we can create impactful work that our competitors don’t and won’t.

With the fast-changing sporting landscape, agencies need to adapt to stay relevant and deliver on the new, evolving needs of their clients. We feel like we are perfectly placed to respond to this as we are a broad and scaled global agency, yet we have the flexibility and conviction to respond to emerging trends. It’s that unique positioning that helps us take on the big players in our space.

When not at work, what would we find you doing?

At the driving range, making no dent in my golf handicap or in the Holmesdale Road end, watching some (most often disappointing) football at Crystal Palace.