Research and insights organization Ipsos announced that James Conrad has joined its Market Strategy and Understanding (MSU) team as an executive vice president. Conrad, an accomplished researcher and top-performing executive, will leverage resources from across the company to meet clients' demand for actionable insights and solutions.
"Ipsos' capabilities are second to none. There are so many different ways we can help clients understand markets, societies, and consumers," said Conrad. "But what drew me here is the people — not just their accomplishments, but the way they think."
Over the course of his nearly three-decade career in market research, Conrad has guided boutique firms, startups, and large organizations around the world, earning an industry-wide reputation as a keen strategist and an inspired leader.
"From motivating teams to furthering growth, James has an impressive track record. His expertise is a perfect fit for our team and our clients," said Whitney Krause, president, Ipsos.
Conrad began his career at Millward Brown, one of Canada's largest market research companies, where he rose from a junior position to a four-year tenure as president. Through the 2010s, he played a pivotal role at a series of firms as they refocused their efforts and revamped their toolkits.
As a managing director for GfK, he executed a path toward growth in North America. Later, in a series of C-suite leadership roles at the Kantar Group, he drove the firm's West Coast tech business to record highs, before steering its operations in Brazil through a recession. Conrad later accepted a position as chief client officer for the tech startup Worthix. He most recently served as chief strategy officer and partner with the consultancy agency Synqrinus, where he refined the tech-driven and client-focused approach to market research that he now brings to Ipsos.
In addition, Mark Polyak was appointed as president of analytics for Ipsos in North America. As president, Polyak will play a critical role in the strategic growth of the organization's business and the integration of multisource, real-time, data-driven, and actionable insights into its core operations.
Polyak was previously Ipsos' chief analytics and data officer in Public Affairs. In his new position, he will advise key clients, contribute thought leadership on Ipsos' innovative approach to "in-the-moment" intelligence and accelerate digital analytics transformation.
"Mark has brought considerable knowledge, data-driven product innovation and expertise to Public Affairs," said Lorenzo Larini, CEO, Ipsos North America. "Having him at the helm of this important, cross-business unit function will enable us to more effectively leverage and position Ipsos' data and analytics competencies, platforms, and solutions to address C-suite level business problems in a more integrated and frictionless way for all our clients."
Polyak will also oversee the creation of an Analytics Center of Excellence, which will act as an internal hub for developing thought leadership and best-in-class approaches for decision support solutions across Ipsos North America.
"The idea is to bring in a community of experts and partners that excel at multi-stream data integration and create what I would call a 'SWAT' team—a rapid-response team that can assist with strategic initiatives or come in and quickly offer solutions, using best practices and lessons learned across Ipsos," Polyak said.
An expert in disruptive technologies, Polyak brings 15 years of experience in real-time analytics to this role. At Ipsos, he has led forward-thinking initiatives including the 2020 Political Atlas and the COVID-19 Biosurveillance Atlas. In his prior role as senior vice president at Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, he founded the Risks Analytics Division (RAD), which combined survey and non-survey data streams for geopolitical forecasting and global risk management.
Before joining Ipsos, Polyak was an executive vice president at Courage Services, a subsidiary of CENTRA Technology focused on government defense contracting, where he led projects focused on real-time data integration and analysis in complex environments. He has three U.S. patents focused on real-time integration of streaming multi-sensor data and is a frequently invited speaker at international development organizations, big tech, and U.S. defense community conferences.