About us

Providing insight and talent across the evolving global content community.

The London team

Joanna Reesby

Joanna Reesby

Founder and Managing Partner

Joanna is the founder of Mission Bay Limited. As one of the UK’s leading media head-hunters, she is known for her deep experience in the media industry as both an executive and in talent solutions. Her search career began in 2004 when she launched the London office of a US based media search boutique and then later led the media division of Whitehead Mann, subsequently Korn Ferry International London, post-acquisition.

Before embarking on her search career, Joanna was at Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment for four years, working across a wide range of commercial activities and projects. She also spent seven years with Hasbro Inc., as global Senior Vice President of Visual Media and Head of International Licensing consecutively. Joanna began her career as an intellectual property lawyer in the U.K. and New Zealand. She has an LLB (hons) from the University of Auckland and an LLM from the University of Cambridge.

Her career is characterised by its internationalism, versatility and trusted professionalism with clients and candidates alike.

Joanna is a Governor of Westminster Great School and Westminster Under School and a Fellow of the RSA.

Joanna Reesby

Founder and Managing Partner

Joanna is the founder of Mission Bay Limited. As one of the UK’s leading media head-hunters, she is known for her deep experience in the media industry as both an executive and in talent solutions. Her search career began in 2004 when she launched the London office of a US based media search boutique and then later led the media division of Whitehead Mann, subsequently Korn Ferry International London, post-acquisition.

Before embarking on her search career, Joanna was at Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment for four years, working across a wide range of commercial activities and projects. She also spent seven years with Hasbro Inc., as global Senior Vice President of Visual Media and Head of International Licensing consecutively. Joanna began her career as an intellectual property lawyer in the U.K. and New Zealand. She has an LLB (hons) from the University of Auckland and an LLM from the University of Cambridge.

Her career is characterised by its internationalism, versatility and trusted professionalism with clients and candidates alike.

Joanna is a Governor of Westminster Great School and Westminster Under School and a Fellow of the RSA.

John Keeling

Since moving into executive search in 2011, John has successfully delivered a wide range of senior recruitment assignments across the media industry. Roles have included the most senior executive, commercial and creative positions, and clients have ranged across broadcasters, production companies, creative/media agencies, media owners and global brands. Assignments have included work in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

Prior to starting in executive search, John’s own career spanned more than 25 years in UK production and broadcasting. Following four years producing music videos in the early 1980’s he joined the team at MTV Europe prior to its launch in 1986. This was followed by six years with Sky Television where John sat on the senior management team with overall responsibility for the film channels. John went on to accept roles as Director of Programming for the launch of the Disney Channel and General Manager for the Film4 channel before joining the BBC as Controller of the UKTV channels in 2001. Promoted to COO in 2004, John left the business in 2007 after acting as CEO for the final six months of his tenure. Having qualified and practiced independently as an executive coach, John spent the years between 2009 and 2011 launching the SeeSaw VOD platform before moving into search.

This deep operational experience coupled with time spent working as an executive coach aligns with Mission Bay’s consultative approach in assisting media companies identify and hire the best cross-sector senior talent globally.

John Keeling

Managing Partner

Since moving into executive search in 2011, John has successfully delivered a wide range of senior recruitment assignments across the media industry. Roles have included the most senior executive, commercial and creative positions, and clients have ranged across broadcasters, production companies, creative/media agencies, media owners and global brands. Assignments have included work in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

Prior to starting in executive search, John’s own career spanned more than 25 years in UK production and broadcasting. Following four years producing music videos in the early 1980’s he joined the team at MTV Europe prior to its launch in 1986. This was followed by six years with Sky Television where John sat on the senior management team with overall responsibility for the film channels. John went on to accept roles as Director of Programming for the launch of the Disney Channel and General Manager for the Film4 channel before joining the BBC as Controller of the UKTV channels in 2001. Promoted to COO in 2004, John left the business in 2007 after acting as CEO for the final six months of his tenure. Having qualified and practiced independently as an executive coach, John spent the years between 2009 and 2011 launching the SeeSaw VOD platform before moving into search.

This deep operational experience coupled with time spent working as an executive coach aligns with Mission Bay’s consultative approach in assisting media companies identify and hire the best cross-sector senior talent globally.

Sally Quick

Sally started her career at Granada Television in media research and then spent 10 years at C4 – working in ad sales, and 5 years at ITV in Scheduling/Commissioning as Head of Commercial Strategy.

Sally then joined UKTV in August 2006 to head up its advertiser-funded content division by forging closer relationships between brands and content across its network of ten channels to create longform series and shortform digital content.

Sally has worked with a wide range of producers and clients/media and creative agencies to deliver all manner of shows  – from the serious factual and award winning, Find My Past on Yesterday (with findmypast.co.uk), to comedy /entertainment Carpool (with Toyota) and award-winning The Indestrucibles (with Casio G Shock) on Dave to forging a record breaking 11 year partnership with Red Bull, bringing the hugely popular Red Bull Soapbox  to Dave… with a huge amount of cookery shows in between.

Sally co-chaired the CSR team at UKTV and enjoys fundraising for charities. 

In 2018, Sally joined Joanna and John at Mission Bay. 

Sally Quick

Partner

Sally started her career at Granada Television in media research and then spent 10 years at C4 – working in ad sales, and 5 years at ITV in Scheduling/Commissioning as Head of Commercial Strategy.

Sally then joined UKTV in August 2006 to head up its advertiser-funded content division by forging closer relationships between brands and content across its network of ten channels to create longform series and shortform digital content.

Sally has worked with a wide range of producers and clients/media and creative agencies to deliver all manner of shows  – from the serious factual and award winning, Find My Past on Yesterday (with findmypast.co.uk), to comedy /entertainment Carpool (with Toyota) and award-winning The Indestrucibles (with Casio G Shock) on Dave to forging a record breaking 11 year partnership with Red Bull, bringing the hugely popular Red Bull Soapbox  to Dave… with a huge amount of cookery shows in between.

Sally co-chaired the CSR team at UKTV and enjoys fundraising for charities. 

In 2018, Sally joined Joanna and John at Mission Bay. 

Tony Vardy

Tony chairs Mission Bay’s Partner group and advises and consults on a variety of projects.

He has previously been Managing Director UK at Korn/Ferry, and prior to that Managing Partner of Spencer Stuart, heading the UK business, as well as being the global/European leader of the firm’s technology, media & telecoms practice for ten years.

Tony led executive searches and succession planning projects in the UK and Ireland, Continental Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, the US, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and Southeast Asia. He also recruited chairmen and non-executive board members both for large public corporations and for pre-IPO, venture capital or private equity-backed businesses, drawing on his wide experience with corporate governance.

Before entering executive search, he spent ten years with British Telecoms plc in the UK and the US as executive vice president of British Telecom Inc in New York, group director of corporate strategy, and managing director of cable television and broadband services. Earlier in his career, he was a corporate financial analyst, and before that a systems analyst and project manager for a French IT services company.

Tony is a psychology graduate with an MBA from the London Business School. He is a chartered management accountant and a fellow of the UK’s Royal Society of Arts.

Tony Vardy

Chairman

Tony chairs Mission Bay’s Partner group and advises and consults on a variety of projects.

He has previously been Managing Director UK at Korn/Ferry, and prior to that Managing Partner of Spencer Stuart, heading the UK business, as well as being the global/European leader of the firm’s technology, media & telecoms practice for ten years.

Tony led executive searches and succession planning projects in the UK and Ireland, Continental Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, the US, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and Southeast Asia. He also recruited chairmen and non-executive board members both for large public corporations and for pre-IPO, venture capital or private equity-backed businesses, drawing on his wide experience with corporate governance.

Before entering executive search, he spent ten years with British Telecoms plc in the UK and the US as executive vice president of British Telecom Inc in New York, group director of corporate strategy, and managing director of cable television and broadband services. Earlier in his career, he was a corporate financial analyst, and before that a systems analyst and project manager for a French IT services company.

Tony is a psychology graduate with an MBA from the London Business School. He is a chartered management accountant and a fellow of the UK’s Royal Society of Arts.

Stephen Buchanan

Stephen Buchanan

Head of Research and Managing Director of Research Europe

Stephen and his team at Research Europe support Mission Bay Ltd in many ways, principally in research services on assignments.

Stephen established Research Europe in 2002. He has 20 years executive search experience, including managing multi-sector research teams at two London-based executive search companies, and delivering senior-level searches across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stephen has an MA from Cambridge University.

Stephen Buchanan

Head of Research and Managing Director of Research Europe

Stephen and his team at Research Europe support Mission Bay Ltd in many ways, principally in research services on assignments.

Stephen established Research Europe in 2002. He has 20 years executive search experience, including managing multi-sector research teams at two London-based executive search companies, and delivering senior-level searches across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stephen has an MA from Cambridge University.

Sarah Barber

Sarah runs all the business operations at MBL and works closely with the team to deliver the MBL assignments. Sarah has twenty years’ experience in the media space.

Beginning her career at 19 within the publicity department of Penguin, Sarah moved to the Film & TV department to help expand Penguin’s burgeoning licensing business. After a long and happy career, she moved to work on the merchandising and licensing activities at 19 Entertainment and then as Category Manager at Warner Bros.

She has an especial strength in the world of publishing.

Sarah Barber

Head of Operations

Sarah runs all the business operations at MBL and works closely with the team to deliver the MBL assignments. Sarah has twenty years’ experience in the media space.

Beginning her career at 19 within the publicity department of Penguin, Sarah moved to the Film & TV department to help expand Penguin’s burgeoning licensing business. After a long and happy career, she moved to work on the merchandising and licensing activities at 19 Entertainment and then as Category Manager at Warner Bros.

She has an especial strength in the world of publishing.

Sacha Eden

Sacha Eden

Marketing Manager and Lead Researcher

Sacha joined Mission Bay as a graduate in 2015 to support the team in all areas of research and analysis. In addition, she oversees marketing and events at Mission Bay and is responsible for our social media. Sacha has a First Class BA in Politics, Psychology and Anthropology from Newcastle University. 

Sacha Eden

Marketing Manager and Lead Researcher

Sacha joined Mission Bay as a graduate in 2015 to support the team in all areas of research and analysis. In addition, she oversees marketing and events at Mission Bay and is responsible for our social media. Sacha has a First Class BA in Politics, Psychology and Anthropology from Newcastle University. 

Chris Newman

Chris Newman

Digital Analyst

Chris works with the Mission Bay team and clients advising on searches in all areas of digital rights, assets and platforms. He is also a very keen gamer, attends conferences and competitions globally and is currently completing an M.Sc in Computer Science at City University, London.

Chris Newman
Contact Chris

Chris Newman

Digital Analyst

Chris works with the Mission Bay team and clients advising on searches in all areas of digital rights, assets and platforms. He is also a very keen gamer, attends conferences and competitions globally and is currently completing an M.Sc in Computer Science at City University, London.

International team

Franca Virgili

Franca Virgili

Consultant (based in LA)

Franca Virgili is an accomplished search consultant who has worked within the Executive Search community, in the US and overseas, for over 25 years. She began her career in executive recruitment in Italy, her native country, where she worked for almost a decade with a local executive search firm (I.C. Interconsult). There, she progressed from a researcher role to the position of Partner, working primarily with American multi-national corporations and solving their executive recruitment needs both in Italy and Europe. This enabled Franca to gain an international dimension, developing an expertise in the execution of “cross-country” search assignments.

In 1994, Franca permanently moved to the United States, opening the Los Angeles office of one of the major executive search firms in the country, TASA/Johnson Smith & Knisely. Since then, she has specialized in the Traditional and New Media, Entertainment, Information, and Communications industries, working with a broad client base which includes large scale multi-national corporations as well as start-ups and portfolio businesses of venture capital and private equity firms.

In 1999, Franca was one of the founding partners of The Cheyenne Group, a retained boutique executive search and management consulting firm specialized in the Media, Entertainment & Information industries, with emphasis on content-driven businesses across both traditional and new distribution platforms. Based in Los Angeles, she ran the company’s West Coast operations advising client companies in the areas of executive recruiting, talent acquisition, mapping and assessment, organizational design and development, industry research and intelligence. Since March of 2015, Franca has been continuing to work as an independent executive search and HR consultant based in Los Angeles and works with Mission Bay regularly on a wide range of assignments – from locally based to global projects.

Franca holds a Master’s Degree in American Literature from the University of Rome and speaks English, Italian and Spanish fluently.

Franca Virgili

Consultant (based in LA)

Franca Virgili is an accomplished search consultant who has worked within the Executive Search community, in the US and overseas, for over 25 years. She began her career in executive recruitment in Italy, her native country, where she worked for almost a decade with a local executive search firm (I.C. Interconsult). There, she progressed from a researcher role to the position of Partner, working primarily with American multi-national corporations and solving their executive recruitment needs both in Italy and Europe. This enabled Franca to gain an international dimension, developing an expertise in the execution of “cross-country” search assignments.

In 1994, Franca permanently moved to the United States, opening the Los Angeles office of one of the major executive search firms in the country, TASA/Johnson Smith & Knisely. Since then, she has specialized in the Traditional and New Media, Entertainment, Information, and Communications industries, working with a broad client base which includes large scale multi-national corporations as well as start-ups and portfolio businesses of venture capital and private equity firms.

In 1999, Franca was one of the founding partners of The Cheyenne Group, a retained boutique executive search and management consulting firm specialized in the Media, Entertainment & Information industries, with emphasis on content-driven businesses across both traditional and new distribution platforms. Based in Los Angeles, she ran the company’s West Coast operations advising client companies in the areas of executive recruiting, talent acquisition, mapping and assessment, organizational design and development, industry research and intelligence. Since March of 2015, Franca has been continuing to work as an independent executive search and HR consultant based in Los Angeles and works with Mission Bay regularly on a wide range of assignments – from locally based to global projects.

Franca holds a Master’s Degree in American Literature from the University of Rome and speaks English, Italian and Spanish fluently.

Serena Sharp

Serena Sharp

Consultant (based in Australia)

Serena is a Consultant to Mission Bay and has a background in the technology space with a strong emphasis on digital and online media. Her search career began in her native Australia, with Heidrick & Struggles, and her experience in the executive search industry extended to Europe on her move to the UK in 2008. Prior to Mission Bay she worked with an international search firm placing senior executive for VC and private equity backed technology and digital businesses.

As with the Mission Bay team, Serena has had a career in industry as well, having worked in marketing for a US software company. Serena graduated with a Bachelor of Business degree from a University in Australia. A keen traveller, she also spent two years in South America, heavily involved in charity work.

Now based in Australia, Serena also has a specific focus on the APAC region.

Serena Sharp
Contact Serena

Serena Sharp

Consultant (based in Australia)

Serena is a Consultant to Mission Bay and has a background in the technology space with a strong emphasis on digital and online media. Her search career began in her native Australia, with Heidrick & Struggles, and her experience in the executive search industry extended to Europe on her move to the UK in 2008. Prior to Mission Bay she worked with an international search firm placing senior executive for VC and private equity backed technology and digital businesses.

As with the Mission Bay team, Serena has had a career in industry as well, having worked in marketing for a US software company. Serena graduated with a Bachelor of Business degree from a University in Australia. A keen traveller, she also spent two years in South America, heavily involved in charity work.

Now based in Australia, Serena also has a specific focus on the APAC region.

Contact us