Rufus Powered by Initiative expands senior leadership team


• Sarah O’Leary and Tom Cumberworth’s appointments are effective immediately

Media agency, Initiative has made two new senior appointments to its Rufus Powered by Initiative (Rufus) team.

Sarah O’Leary will join as managing director of Rufus, while Tom Cumberworth will join as head of partnerships.

Rufus is Amazon’s dedicated media and communications agency working across retail, device, Flex, Amazon Web Services and Prime Video.

After a robust search and selection process, Melissa Fein, CEO of Initiative Australia said she was delighted to welcome both Sarah and Tom to Rufus.

O’Leary and Cumberworth both bring specialist skills to the table and are charged with delivering high-performance outcomes for Amazon.

Sarah O’Leary

Fein said: “Sarah has a proven track record of leading senior stakeholder relationships and delivering business growth in today’s complex and fast-moving market. We’re delighted she has accepted the opportunity to lead Rufus at a pivotal time in the agency’s growth and momentum.”

O’Leary has a strong media investment background garnered from 15-years in senior management and director roles both agency and marketing-side.

Previously, O’Leary held a role with Atomic 212 as head of client service and planning. Prior to Atomic, O’Leary was business director at Havas Melbourne where shes led the agency to win Best Integrated Campaign at Festival of Media APAC for 1000 Girls, World Vision campaign.

O’Leary said: “Initiative’s and Rufus’ strong market reputation for both product and culture is second to none; this coupled with both agencies enjoying a strong growth trajectory made the opportunity to join the team an opportunity of a lifetime.

“I am passionate about consumer behaviour and love to delve into data to solve business problems; and I’m looking forward to driving and developing market leading solutions for Amazon and its brands through innovation, collaboration and partnership.”

Tom Cumberworth

As newly appointed head of partnerships, Tom Cumberworth’s primary remit will be to lead senior media partner relationships and deliver strong growth outcomes for Amazon. 

With nearly 15-years of global and local experience, Cumberworth was previously group trading director at OMD Sydney where he led the Suncorp Group business, overseeing the investment strategy and decisioning for the entire portfolio across all media. 

“Tom is an outstanding team leader with a raft of global and local experience managing and leading specialist buying teams across all media platforms, inclusive of TV, VOD, OOH, Radio and more. He will play a leading role in Rufus, Amazon and our media partners’ future successes,” Fein said.

“Sarah and her team have an established industry reputation for craft, creative innovation, and client servicing and I’m confident with their industry knowledge and zeal for innovation and solving client problems, combined with the calibre of the Rufus team, that the agency will be well positioned to bring the full spectrum of its capabilities to life.

“I look forward to seeing what a difference they will make to the business,” Fein concluded.

O’Leary and Cumberworth’s appointments are effective immediately.

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