Top agency staff are on the move in an industry in flux
THE AD INDUSTRY is in a state of flux, partially attributable to Jupiter Drawing Room’s acquisition of R1,2bn in new billings late last year. Jupiter has made 100 new appointments, with more to come, creating vacuums to be filled and opportunities to be grasped amid a general mood of change and uncertainty.
The year has started off with a merrygo-round of senior ad agency executive appointments, including:
Muzi Kuzwayo has been appointed MD of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg, the flagship agency of TBWA South Africa, one of the country’s top three marketing communications groups – but not performing with the same verve as it used to.
His predecessor, David Wingfield, becomes MD Global Accounts, responsible for the development and management of Standard Bank on a global basis within the TBWA network. There still seems to be a gap in the organisation for a group CEO, the position held until recently by Mike Bosman, but Johannesburg agency chairman Reinher Behrens says this won’t happen in the short term. “We are focusing on getting our operating units working optimally.”
The move has been a blow to KingJames, where Kuzwayo was the black empowerment leader and shareholder. “We were surprised and deeply saddened,” says creative director Alistair King. “This has disrupted our empowerment programme. It shows you can never take anything for granted.”
Kuzwayo, formerly a director and partner of KingJames, is the author of bestselling books on marketing. He says his aim is “to entrench myself into this new environment and add a bit of spit and polish to an already high-profile brand”.
Johannesburg chairman Reinher Behrens says Kuzwayo is “ideally poised to drive the agency philosophy. We look to him to challenge our approach in driving communication concepts”.
Meanwhile, in Cape Town, Lowe Bull group MD Gillian Rightford has decided not to return to her position after her maternity leave. She’s been with the group for seven years and took over as MD when agency founder Matthew Bull went to London as CEO of Lowe London. Now Bull is back, also based in Cape Town. Was Cape Town too small for the two of them?
“We had spoken about whether there would be a role for me when Matthew returned from London, and now I have given myself two months to look around,” she says.
“I don’t want to go back to a traditional agency, but there is lots of interesting stuff out there. It will have to be a national offering.”
FCB creative director Brett Morris has left the agency for fast-food chain Nando’s, where he will occupy a new position as chief creative officer. He will be working with the marketing director on a global level.
Lowe Bull Cape Town creative director Porky Hefer has left the agency to start his own shop, called Animal Farm. “It’s the start of a revolution,” he says.
“The current structure of ad agencies is very restrictive for big ideas. I want to own the idea and original creative thinking and get paid for it.” But Hefer won’t be totally lost to Lowe Bull: the agency is now one of his clients.