Forethought secures Annalect’s Darren Stein as Global CEO

Posted 20 Jul 2021
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Darren Stein has been appointed the first Global CEO of marketing analytics and strategy advisory, Forethought, serving clients across North America and APAC.

“Forethought’s continued multinational success, and its plans for further growth, meant it was time to create the role of global CEO.” says Ken Roberts, Forethought founder and Chairman.

He adds, “Anyone who knows Darren or has come across his work, would agree that he is uniquely qualified to lead the further expansion of the Forethought business and it is extremely exciting that he agreed to join the firm and lead this next phase.”

Forethought managed to entice Darren away from a highly transformative and impactful stint as CEO of Annalect across Australia and New Zealand (Annalect is part of the Omnicom Media Group). Prior to that, as CEO of Cadreon, he created a leading integrated insights, analytics, data, tech and programmatic offering through the merger of the Anomaly and Cadreon business units (now Kinesso and Matterkind within IPG Mediabrands).

Diane Shelton, who has completed a successful 4 years as CEO of Forethought Australia will be moving into a different role but staying with the firm. As one of the country’s leading customer researchers and strategists, she will shift the focus of her professional commitments to be a specialist advisor and Advisory Board member.

Darren joins Forethought with over 20 years’ experience across analytics, research, data, tech and marketing strategy. His focus will be on supporting the team and accelerating innovation across Forethought’s core capabilities including brand strategy, effective communications, econometric modelling and customer experience optimisation.

“His experience in analytics, media, technology and consulting is unsurpassed, whether from inside the corporate environment of Optus or News Corp, or within an agency space such as Mediabrands or Omnicom, he brings superbly well-rounded credentials and know-how to deliver to the needs of tomorrow’s Chief Marketing, Customer and Experience Officers.”

“Partnering CMOs and CCOs to drive demonstrable and long standing growth for their organisations has always been Forethought’s primary focus. I was a client of Forethought’s for 12 years and they were a stand-out partner due to their way of explaining consumer behaviour and drivers of market share. Their insights allowed us to manoeuvre brands into growth or market leading positions with efficiency and purpose” says Darren.

He adds, “But that’s not what got me excited about joining the business. Forethought have actually managed to develop an ecosystem based on patented IP, journal published thought leadership and analytical technology that is best in class. Their approach to improving advertising efficiency with Creative Efficacy™ and their ability to prioritise CX investment through their Rationing Centricity™ framework is second to none and represents a way of closing loops and joining areas of the marketing insights through to implementation ecosystem that data-led and insight-led leaders have always been looking to resolve.”

Darren commences with Forethought in September 2021.


Forethought is a leading customer and marketing analytics and strategy advisory firm.

Forethought, with the largest marketing science team in Australia, partners 80 clients in Australia to drive customer and market share growth via providing the evidence and CMO advisory support focused on customer acquisition and retention strategy and market share growth. In North America, Forethought partners with the fastest growing airline, JetBlue as well as several category leading brands.