Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry.


Stephen Kerin  

Job title and company:

Managing Director, Webgains UK

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

Webgains offers a range of online acquisition and sales solutions, harnessing performance-based payment models to deliver meaningful ROI and incremental value to international advertisers of all types.

What are the company’s unique selling points?

As a global network, we specialise in offering advertisers cohesive cross-territory solutions. Our structure allows us to provide a single global account management solution while at the same time capitalising on local teams’ knowledge for delivery. Of course, that’s only half the picture; our real selling point is our people, who are dedicated, insightful and fantastic in every way.

Within the last year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

The last year has been a knockout one for Webgains. We’ve had 38% YoY growth so we’re soaring towards the €30 million milestone. There have been some sizable changes within our parent company, ad pepper media. Dr Ulrike Handel has joined as CEO from Axel Springer and ad pepper are now focusing their energies on the performance part of their business as their biggest growth driver.

Within Webgains itself, we’ve been joined by Ben Cole as commercial director. His sights are set on the commercial concerns of the business and he is working closely with the sales team. Meanwhile, I’ve been concentrating my energies on Webgains’ strategy and working with ad pepper on how Webgains sits within their portfolio of products. We’ve had a great start to 2014 and are topping it off with a move to a shiny new office in Farringdon, complete with a maze, beach and other such delights.

Duration in current role:

I’ll have been at Webgains for three years in May.

Where are you based?

I’m based in our London office, soon to be 20 Farringdon.

Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:

Before joining Webgains, I did a three year stint in Tradedoubler’s international team. Before that I was at MIVA (eSpotting) and before that, an agency called Unified Solutions. I’ve been in online since 1994!

What are your main job responsibilities?

I deliberately try to keep the number of people I directly manage as small as possible – just the heads of department. These people are leaders themselves and to an extent my role is to enfranchise them, supporting them in running their departments effectively and making sure everyone is moving in the same direction. As UK MD, I have ultimate responsibility for P&L across the UK business so spend a not-insignificant amount of my time dealing with budgets. I am also heavily involved in working with ad pepper and shaping the direction of the Webgains business in collaboration with them.

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:

Well this morning I sat in on a sales meeting which was chaired by our sales director; it’s important that I am up to date with their progress against targets. There’s always a housekeeping element on a Monday, looking at the previous seven days’ performance and planning the week ahead. We have a three day meeting with ad pepper in Germany coming up so I’ve been preparing for that. I also have a bit of an addiction to M&S pea soup so Mondays often see me heading down the road to M&S to stock up for the week.

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

The Telegraph, Twitter and The Drum.

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

  •  I’d say you have to be prepared to deal with the thorniest things that happen, and to do so at a moment’s notice. Whether that’s a difficult situation with a client or perhaps a personal issue, these things do crop up and you have to be willing to deal with them and to make the right decision. 
  •  You have to be willing to be visible. Whether in the context of public speaking, or leading a company-wide meeting, the spotlight is on you. It’s essential that you have confidence in your own words and ability to articulate them. If you can really enjoy that exposure, that’s an added bonus.
  •  Finally, it would be to keep sight of the long-term goals. You can’t afford to get drawn in to things just because they appeal to you; if you want responsibility for the P&L of a company, it’s vital that you maintain your focus on what is of long term commercial benefit to the company at all times.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?

Indecently rich, playing off scratch and yachting with Kate Moss… Joking aside, I’ll still be at Webgains. What Webgains will look like in three years’ time is the interesting bit; we may well have expanded our product offering and so it’s possible that I’ll be heading up a company with a much wider remit than we currently have. Webgains is a fantastic place to come to work every day and I’m confident that there is more brilliance on the horizon.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

My retirement plan; I’m going to be a Conservative MP – watch out General Election 2023!


Did you catch some of the other profiles on PI?

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​​US Chief Marketing Officer at AddThis – Shares Insights