Executive Alert: Hallmark names marketing VP, KC restaurateur honored

Executive Alert is a regular report on career moves, awards and recognition and other news about top executives from across the Show-Me State.

Career moves

Allen Blake has stepped down from the board of First Banks Inc., the Clayton-based holding company for First Bank. Blake spent 30 years with the bank, serving in roles including president and CEO.

Anita Newton, Hallmark VP of marketing | Courtesy of Anita Newton/Twitter
Anita Newton | Courtesy of Anita Newton/Twitter

Anita Newton, who has served as vice president of marketing for Kansas City-based advertising tech firm Adknowledge, will assume the same role at Kansas City’s Hallmark Cards Inc. Newton has also worked as vice president of digital and retail marketing at AMC Theaters and chief marketing officer at Zave Networks.

The Missouri Partnership has named Mark Sutherland as its new vice president for market strategies. The organization works to bring new businesses to the state. Sutherland has 20 years of experience in the communications field and most recently worked as chief communications officer of St. Louis-based marketing firm Elasticity.

Rob McDaniels, who has worked as associate director of the MU Career Center since 2007, will take over the role of director at the center. McDaniels is a University of Missouri graduate and has a master’s degree in counseling. Before joining the MU Career Center, he worked in a variety of roles at Columbia College.

Rob McDaniels | Courtesy of the University of Missouri
Rob McDaniels | Courtesy of the University of Missouri

Doug Wilber has been named president of North American operations for PromisePay, an Australian payments startup with an office in St. Louis. Wilber, a mentor with St. Louis-based fintech accelerator SixThirty, will be in charge of continuing PromisePay’s growth and expanding its customer base.

Rick Merluzzi of the St. Louis-based Metal Exchange Corp. has been promoted to president and chief operating officer, a newly created post. Merluzzi will work with the parent company and with affiliated companies Pennex Aluminum Co., Continental Aluminum Corp., Electro Cycle Inc. and Metal Recovery Systems.

Bill Thomas has been named as the chief compliance and chief administrative officer of St. Louis-based investment advisory Wedgewood Partners, Inc. Before joining Wedgewood, Thomas was a managing partner for ActiveETF Partners LLC. Before that, he was a CEO of Grail Advisors, LLC.

Awards & recognition

The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association will honor a local restaurateur Kevin Timmons, co-owner of Nick and Jake’s, at its annual awards later this month. Nick and Jake’s opened in Overland Park, Kan., in 2001 and now has three total locations in the Kansas City area.

The Central Exchange, a Kansas City-based networking and education group, will honor eight women and one company for their outstanding service in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Honorees include Linda Netzel of the Kansas City Police Department; Debra Ellies of Osteogenex; Deborah O’Bannon of the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Muriel Eaton of Kansas State University; Gretchen Ivy of HNTB; Sunita Lavin of Garmin; Dr. Marion Pierson, a pediatrician; and Tiffany Wheeler of Kansas City Power & Light.

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