Language Industry Key Hires of 2020

Most Important New Hires in 2020 in the Localization and Translation Industry

The year 2020 will go down in the books for many things. It is the year Super Agency RWS acquired rival SDL in what will likely be remembered for a very long time as the language industry’s most transformative deal. Leaders Acolad Group and Amplexor also struck a deal, creating Continental Europe’s largest language service provider (LSP). Leadership changes followed the mergers, for RWS as well as Acolad.

And although 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of Covid-19, it also marks a time when the global language industry proved its resilience by responding quickly and effectively in the face of the worst pandemic of the last hundred years.

Many LSPs and tech providers even continued to hire. As Shannon Zimmerman, Chief Revenue Officer at Summa Linguae put it, “We are in growth mode. Now is not the time to become complacent or cautious.”

This sentiment was echoed by Barry Slaughter Olsen, Vice President of Client Success at KUDO, who said that nowhere is growth more apparent than in continued hiring — and “we need good people to join our team to help the world continue to communicate.”

Here are some of the language industry’s most notable hires as featured on the pages of Slator in 2020.

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Stephen Stewart – Take 1

Slator featured a number of C-level appointments in 2020, beginning with Stephen Stewart, Chief Operating Officer at Take 1. Stewart joined the UK-based transcription and translation service provider on December 15, 2019 fresh off senior operations roles at the BBC and tech company Mirriad Advertising. He reports to CEO Louise Tapia.

Stewart’s Operations team comprises Production, Product, and Technology Services, with about 40 people across the UK, North America, and South America.

Chen Oren – One Hour Translation

Chen Oren joined One Hour Translation as VP of Product Management on January 1, 2020. He reports to CEO Yair Tal. Oren manages the international product team, including product managers and product marketing activities.

“The mission of our product team is to deliver the right value at the right time. This may seem simple but finding this balance is a fine art. We strive for a profound understanding of our talents, clients, and customers by tuning into their needs, desires, and motivations,” he said.

Christoph Esser – lengoo

Christoph Esser joined Germany-based LSP lengoo as Chief Sales Officer on January 2, 2020 fresh off two years at Lionbridge as Director Sales for Central Europe.

Both the VP of Global Accounts and Head of Sales at lengoo report to him; he, in turn, reports to CEO Christopher Kränzler. Upon his hiring, Esser immediately set out to build his sales team by hiring more Account Executives and Sales Development Representatives.

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Corinne Saunders – Lionbridge

Corinne Saunders joined Lionbridge as Managing Director of EMEA on January 13, 2020. She reports to CEO John Fennelly. “My role is to develop the EMEA business at large, so all EMEA sales, account management, and marketing report directly to me. Lionbridge is a global matrix company, so other European functions report to me as well, but on a dotted line,” Saunders told Slator.

Saunders joined the language industry from the financial and information services sectors. She has held senior leadership positions at such companies as American Express, Dun & Bradstreet and, most recently, Wolters Kluwer, where she was CEO of Emerging & Developing Markets for six and a half years.

Miles Kane – Unbabel

Miles Kane joined language services and tech startup Unbabel on January 20, 2020 as VP and GM for North America. He reported to CRO Wolfgang Allisat. Kane joined the language industry after serving in leadership roles at such companies as marketing platform Drift and software companies Altocloud (Genesys) and SmartBear.

Shannon Zimmerman – Summa Linguae

Sajan founder Shannon Zimmerman joined Poland-based LSP Summa Linguae Technologies as Chief Revenue Officer in January 2020. He reports to CEO Krzysztof Zdanowski.

After selling Sajan in 2017 and taking a few months off, Zimmerman recalled thinking that for him to return to the industry “it would have to be done in an inspired setting with exceptional people.” Sales and the Global Solutions report to Zimmerman, which enables him, he said, to influence all things growth-related and help guide future market solutions.

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Michael Stevens – Translated

Michael Stevens joined Translated as Vice President of the Americas on February 1, 2020. He worked a combined seven years in the Moravia organization prior to joining the Rome-headquartered LSP. He reports to CEO Marco Trombetti.

His first order of business was to expand enterprise translation buyers. Business development roles report into him.

Chris Papandropoulos – Haymillian

Chris Papandropoulos joined London-based subbing and dubbing specialist Haymillian as Chief Marketing Officer on February 17, 2020. He reported to Aida Martirosyan, Managing Director.

“My role as a CMO is to advise the MD on future actions, market requirements, and communications plans,” Papandropoulos told Slator. He left the company in July 2020, according to his LinkedIn profile, and continues to work as a marketing consultant.

Bjorn Touqan – Språkservice

Bjorn Touqan joined Sweden-based LSP Språkservice Sverige as Head of Sales and Business Development on March 2, 2020 fresh off nearly four years as CMO of rival Hero Tolk. He reports to CEO Jens Kofoed Hansen.

Touqan is responsible for all project managers and administrators on the translation side of the business, as well as sales, business development, customer relations and marketing, and key accounts for certain clients.

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Fabian Lobera – Language I/O

Fabian Lobera joined Wyoming-based machine translation provider Language I/O as Chief Financial Officer, as announced on Slator on March 18, 2020. He reports to CEO Heather Morgan Shoemaker.

Lobera has served as CFO for SaaS and retail startups and spent most of his career as an accountant for private and public firms in Washington, DC, the press release said. He also concurrently serves as COO of PR platform PitchEngine and wearable tech startup Lifekey, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Véronique Özkaya​ – Argos Multilingual

Véronique Özkaya became CEO of Argos Multilingual in May 2020. Prior to joining the Poland-headquartered LSP, Özkaya was CEO of Belgian LSP Xplanation for more than eight years, overseeing it through its sale to Denmark-based rival LanguageWire in 2018.

She also served as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Moravia and, before that, VP Sales at Lionbridge, where she worked in many roles across operations, engineering, language, and sales for over a decade.

Özkaya took the CEO helm from Kimon Fountoukidis, who founded the company more than 23 years ago. (Fountoukidis became Chairman.) Özkaya reports to the Argos Board and has become a shareholder in the company.

Radhakrishnan Mani – Crystal Hues

Radhakrishnan Mani joined India-based Crystal Hues Limited (CHL) as Chief Operating Officer on May 11, 2020. CHL is a public unlisted company with four business lines and Mani is COO of the Localization business. All Group Account Managers, Account and Delivery Managers, and sales teams report into him. He, in turn, reports to M. L. Sudheen, Founder and CEO.

He has led teams at Wipro and then Mayflower, which has since been acquired by Summa Linguae. He left Mayflower to start his own company, which specialized in localization and testing, running the business for more than six years before joining CHL.

Barry Olsen – KUDO

Barry Slaughter Olsen joined multilingual conferencing platform KUDO as Vice President of Client Success on May 18, 2020. He reports to CEO and Co-founder, Fardad Zabetian.

“As VP of Client Success, I own and manage client onboarding and work directly with our partners to conduct promotional events and assist KUDO’s marketing team in the creation and delivery of social media content,” Olsen told Slator.

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Søren Justesen – LanguageWire

Søren Bech Justesen became CEO of LanguageWire on June 11, 2020. Justesen took the helm from Henrik Lottrup, who founded the Denmark-headquartered LSP in 2000. Lottrup remains on the board of directors and a major shareholder in the company.

Justesen first joined the Denmark-based LSP in September 2019 as Group Chief Financial Officer. He held a similar post at IT company Conscia prior to joining LanguageWire, and has also served as CFO at companies in the pharmaceutical and IT sectors.

Silke Zschweigert – Jonckers

Silke Zschweigert stepped into the CEO role at Jonckers in July 2020. Zschweigert had joined Jonckers as Chief Revenue Officer in the fall of 2019. She took the reins from Geo Janssens, who led the Belgium-based LSP for four years before deciding to take on “a strategic, executive role in developing technology solutions for Key Accounts,” Zschweigert told Slator.

She said Jonckers is privately-owned and its shareholders come from a range of sectors, including B2C and legal. At the time of Zschweigert’s appointment, the company had 167 in-house employees worldwide in 10 countries.

Yvan Hennecart – MasterWord

Yvan Hennecart joined Texas-based LSP MasterWord as Vice President of Customer Engagement, as announced on Slator on August 19, 2020. He reports to Founder and President, Ludmila Golovine.

According to the press release, Hennecart has served in leadership roles in account management, strategic planning, execution and change management at companies such as SDL (VP of Operations) and HOOQ (Head of Localization).

Allan Hall – Xillio

Allan Hall joined content migration company Xillio as Chief Commercial Officer for Xillio Content Localization, as announced on Slator on September 1, 2020. He reports to CEO Rikkert Engels. 

Hall has spent over 20 years in sales and operations, much of it at SDL in leadership roles, including Chief Revenue Officer and member of the executive board. According to the press release, Hall is “responsible for expanding the presence of LocHub, the company’s independent content integration platform.”

Frank Shirmo – KUDO

Frank Shirmo joined multilingual conferencing platform KUDO as VP of Compliance and Cybersecurity on September 1, 2020. He reports to Parham Akhavan, Co-founder and CTO.

Shirmo has gained years of experience as a technologist and cybersecurity professional in the fields of IT and Network Security, contributing to the education and training of information security professionals globally for over a decade. He is also concurrently a professor of Computer Science at various colleges and universities in Maryland and Virginia.

Martin Konop – Memsource

Martin Konop joined Memsource as Chief Financial Officer on September 14, 2020. He reports to David Čaněk, Founder and CEO, as well as the Memsource Board. Prior to Memsource, Konop worked at  VC/PE firm Rockaway Capital. He was named to the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30.

His CFO role is “very commercially involved,” Konop told Slator, spanning sales and marketing, revenue operations, customer success, as well as M&A, aside from the usual CFO tasks of reporting, budgeting, etc.

Olivier Marcheteau – Acolad Group

Olivier Marcheteau became CEO of Acolad Group in October 2020. He had joined the France-based LSP as Deputy CEO in January 2020 and was named to the new Board in November following the Acolad-Amplexor merger.

Marcheteau oversees the Group’s operations and manages the executive team. He talked about what has kept him busy for the past 12 months at SlatorCon Remote December 2020.

Andre Hemker – Wordbee

Andre Hemker was named CEO of Luxembourg-based TMS and CAT tool provider Wordbee on October 1, 2020, as announced on Slator. He took the CEO reins from José Vega, who co-founded the company with CTO Stephan Böhmig. Vega will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.

Hemker is Founder and CEO of Wordcraft, a Germany-based LSP, and a partner and client of Wordbee for many years, the press release said.

Klaus Skovrup – LanguageWire

Klaus Skovrup joined LanguageWire as Chief Financial Officer on October 1, 2020. He reports to Søren Bech Justesen, former CFO of the Danish LSP, who took over as CEO in June.

The two had previously worked together. When Skovrup joined IT advisory firm NNIT in 2010, Justesen became his direct supervisor and they worked together for more than three years. This past summer, Skovrup reached out after hearing that his former boss was looking for LanguageWire’s next CFO.

Annett Polaszewski-Plath – Interprefy

Annett Polaszewski-Plath was named CEO of Interprefy on November 9, 2020. She took over the role from Kim Ludvigsen, Founder of the Zurich-based RSI provider, who now serves as Vice Chairman of the Board. No major change in the company’s shareholder structure accompanies the leadership change, Ludvigsen told Slator.

Polaszewski-Plath joined the company after commercial leadership stints at ticketing platform Eventbrite (Managing Director for DACH) and online payment portal PayPal (Head of Sales for DACH).

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Alex Batchelor and Danny Russell – Mission Translate

Alex Batchelor and Danny Russell joined UK-based LSP Mission Translate as Board Members, as announced on Slator on December 2, 2020. Batchelor and Russell “advise and assist in the company’s global growth and expansion strategy,” the press release said.

Batchelor serves as adviser to a number of PE/VC funds, while Russell is a professional strategic consultant who also serves as Non-executive Director at Omnicom’s brand research firm Hall & Partners.

Gavin Grimes – Smartling

Gavin Grimes joined TMS provider Smartling as Vice President of Language Services, as announced on Slator on December 3, 2020. He reports to Founder and CEO, Jack Welde.

Grimes has over 20 years of language services industry experience under his belt. He joined Smartling from Welocalize, where he served as General Manager of Welocalize Europe.