After a bit of a rough patch, the newly rebranded 'global boutique' Y&R NZ has been slowly getting back on the good foot, with some nice work for the likes of HRV, Shapes Roadies and ACC, and some big names being added to the staff roster, among them Josh Moore as executive creative director, Ross Goldsack returning as non-executive director and Scott Henderson manning the fort in Wellington. And now there's another big change to announce, with the chief executive of seven years Jon Ramage stepping down and being replaced by Moore.
Goldsack says it's no secret the advertising industry has been under sustained pressure during the GFC and Y&R—and Ramage—has not been immune.
"Jon has borne a lot of that pressure and has decided he'd like to take a break and recharge his batteries," he says.
He paid tribute to Ramage's tenure, saying they had some superb successes together, including taking Y&R to agency of the year in 1998.
"Jon is a terrific person, smart, articulate, and incredibly personable. Not only has he been a great colleague, he's a great mate as well."
Ramage, who has agreed to help with the transition phase during the next few months, started his career as a client working for Auckland City and Telecom. His agency career began with Ogilvy & Mather, firstly in direct then into advertising. After five years, he joined Colenso working as group account director and was then general manager for nine years before joining Y&R.
Goldsack says Moore, who helped take US Sydney into the upper agency echelons in Australia before returning to the homeland last year, is a very good man for the top job. He knew him when "he was still wearing shorts" and working as an intern at Goldsack house in Wellington, and even then he felt he was destined to do great things.
"You can always pick them. He's a very good operator," he says.
Goldsack, who's been back working with the network for two or three months, says he wasn't brought back in to manage the departure of Ramage. He was brought in by Ramage and Moore because "they needed a bit of grey hair in the office" to get the agency firing again.
He says he's enjoying being back in the industry, and he says he missed the intellectual and creative stimulation of working in an agency. But he's not keen on running one again, which is why he's the non-executive director and isn't getting too involved in the day-to-day running of the office.
Even so, things are looking pretty good at the moment, he says.
"We're in good health. The agency teams are flat out and our clients' business is our key consideration right now," he says. "I'm also grateful for the support of our Australian Y&R team, which has the resources and commitment to back the business as we move ahead. We are also very much focused on the welfare of our people and to that end no further staff changes are mooted."