Anja Cappelle hands over management to co-MD Isabel Donvil

May 7, 2021 | John De Wever

Managing Director of The Reference Anja Cappelle has accepted to take on a new mission, as part of the management team of Emakina Group. She started working for The Reference 25 years ago, and became its MD in 2007, when the digital agency joined Emakina Group. To give her new strategic undertaking for the group her full attention, she now hands over her current responsibilities at The Reference to Isabel Donvil, co-MD at the company since early 2020. 

Anja and Isabel

Ambitious leadership

Under Cappelle’s ambitious leadership, The Reference grew from 30 to 150 experts working in multidisciplinary teams from offices in Ghent, Antwerp and New York. She created a strong company culture, a dynamic agile collaboration style with a growing group of long-term clients, and a management team that combines result-oriented thinking with multi-disciplined teamwork. Anja Cappelle also played a key role in opening The Reference’s office in Manhattan in 2017, and the acquisition of US agency Karbyn.

Anja Cappelle will now start a new mission, continuing her success story within the Emakina Group and help to further grow the leading agency group as a true global digital partner, already present in 18 countries on 3 continents.

The Reference in good hands

Anja Cappelle hands over her duties at The Reference to Isabel Donvil, co-MD of the digital agency since early 2020. In tandem they shaped the future vision and strategy of the company. Isabel Donvil is now ready to assume full responsibility of the company she joined in 2014, and guide it to a promising and sustainable future. Donvil joined The Reference as Client Service Director, after an international career in retail and wholesale with a strong focus on e-commerce. She went on to manage a series of strategic projects as Business Strategy Director, giving her a solid experience in leading successful innovative projects for a string of local and international A-brands.

Anja Cappelle repeats her credo: “Things evolve, that’s tradition. With The Reference I have been renewing and diversifying from day one, and I look forward to continuing this and grow on a personal level with the full support of Emakina group. Of course I will remain the most loyal supporter of the exceptional talents at The Reference. I wish our fantastic colleagues and clients lots of success and am truly thankful for the fine collaboration over the years. The time is right for this step: The company is in good shape and in skillful hands with Isabel and the management team.”

“We are extremely grateful for the incredible job Anja did”, adds Isabel Donvil. “We will make her proud of what The Reference’s future will bring. I feel incredibly proud and excited to continue leading this company with extremely talented colleagues, supported by our strong management team. The future is challenging, but that is exactly how I like it. At the same time, the future has never looked so bright.”

Brice Le Blévennec, CEO of Emakina Group concludes: “I welcome Anja onboard of Emakina Group and want to thank her for the positive energy she has devoted for so many years into growing The Reference into an incredible digital agency. I am looking forward working with her on Emakina Group challenges that will benefit from her talent and her vast experience in leading people towards great results.”

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