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New Zealand’s largest search marketing agency, First Rate, has announced some new appointments and promotions. With offices in Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne, it is the fastest growing online direct response agency in Australasia.

From left to right: Kevin Francis, Grant Osborne, Samuel Stadler and Jon Ostler

Former chief operating officer Kevin Francis has been promoted to chief executive officer. His opinion piece on search marketing for StopPress is a good read if you haven’t clicked already.

First Rate’s founder and former CEO, Jon Ostler, moves into a strategic role in Q Group, the owner of First Rate and other leading Australasian companies providing interactive advertising and digital marketing services. His new role involves heading up search and performance across Q Group’s portfolio.

Former Sydney-based consulting director Samuel Stadler returns to Auckland to become chief operating officer. Stadler joined the agency in 2003 and was responsible for launching the Sydney office in 2006.

Returning to First Rate is Grant Osborne, who takes up the role of director of strategy and performance. He rejoins First Rate after 15 months with Accor Hotels NZ and Fiji where he was e-marketing manager.

Forsyth Thompson is the new business development manager. Most recently Thompson was group advertising manager at APN.

As the demand for search marketing grows, Kevin Francis believes First Rate is well, first rate. “Our mission is to bring more advanced paid search, performance advertising, analytics and conversion optimisation approaches to the local market as it matures in its approach to search marketing.”