Active International hires three to sales and media purchasing teams

The new hires are a response to client needs, according to Michael Villeneuve, SVP of sales at the media company.


Media company Active International announced three senior leadership hires across its sales and media purchasing sectors last week.

The new senior director of client partnerships, Harminder Hayer has experience working with IBM, Bell Canada and Metroland Media, most recently coming from IPG Media Brands, Orion Worldwide, as sales director. Her role at Active International involves optimizing the value of its client’s inventory.

According to Michael Villeneuve, SVP of sales, Active International’s clients are telling the company exactly what they need, and hiring Hayer was a response to that.

“Bringing [Hayer] on board is basically just meeting a need that our customers are telling us, ‘We want somebody that’s senior that has [an] understanding of businesses challenges from a broad perspective [and] can understand the needs from an inventory to media perspective,’” he said.

Joining Hayer on sales is Steve Muscat, vice president of strategic partnerships. Muscat comes from Cue Digital Media where he was the lead for sports and entertainment, with prior sales experience at Bell Media and CHUM TV.

In his new role, Muscat will focus on the financial growth of small and mid-sized agencies through the development of partnerships that benefit Active International’s clients.

Also joining the team is Ahmed Al-Waili, the new director of programmatic.

With nearly a decade of experience in online marketing and over five in the programmatic space, Al-Waili, who has previously worked with iProspect, Rubicon Project and Ignition One, will provide Active International with the programmatic know-how that the company has previously been lacking.

“Ahmed has been fantastic coming on board and helping our marketers understand the use of programmatic, how to get the most out of it, how to integrate it into their digital plans…and also be able to work with the agencies that we work with and speak to them at their level,” Villeneuve said. “A lot of them have great expertise in programmatic and we’re there simply to augment that, represent our customers, and we want to be able to do that at as high a level as possible.”

Active International has more than 60 clients overall.

While Al-Waili and Muscat are in completely new roles, Hayer is replacing someone who accepted another role elsewhere.

According to Villeneuve, the new hires are a response to the changing climate of client needs.

“As you grow, certain areas tend to develop faster than others,” he said. “You try to utilize the resources you have on hand and you take courses and people try and take different aspects under their wings but at the end of the day, if you’re going to be serious about a certain dynamic in the media community, you have to have the expertise on it.”

Villeneuve says that although the company has people that understand programmatic well, the understanding is “probably not as good as [it] could [be] if they were 100% focused on it,” explaining that Active International wanted somebody that could be solely programmatic.

“We know that that’s the future, and we wanted to make sure that we had the expertise in house to do that.”

As for sales, Villeneuve said that the company wanted to beef up its team with people that have existing relationships in the industry and could demonstrate their expertise.

“Both with Steve and Harminder, they have extensive background in the media community with agencies, as well with marketers,” he said, adding that bringing both of them in has given the company more credibility with its customers.

Muscat and Hayer, who have been with the company for four and five months respectively, bring Active International’s sales team up to seven people. Meanwhile, Al-Waili joined the digital media team of eight two months ago and is part of a broader media team that consists of more than 20 people.

An earlier version of this story misidentified a man as Steve Muscat. The image has been updated.