Che Tamahori has called a day on his 21-year stint in his career by leaving the Digital Arts Network (DAN) to take up the role of general manager of user experience at Air New Zealand.
Tamahori is regarded as one of the smartest digital operators in New Zealand and his leadership has been integral in shaping what DAN does today.
Before joining the TBWA network, Tamahori worked as one of the founding employees of digital agency Shift in the 90s, first as a designer, then creative director, and then managing director.
In 2007, TBWA acquired Shift, at first allowing the business to function as a standalone arm of the group, before fusing it with marketing firm Tequila in 2012 to form the entity that has become known as DAN/Auckland.
Tamahori was promptly placed in charge of the organisation and has led it ever since.
Long before 'customer centricity' became a buzz phrase dropped into conversations around the industry, Tamahori was already putting the customer first through intuitive web experiences created for major brands, such as ANZ, Tourism New Zealand, Spark and Auckland Council. And according to an Air New Zealand spokesperson, these skills will serve him well as he takes on his new challenge.
"In his new role, Che will be the custodian of the digital experience across the end-to-end customer journey, working to ensure Air New Zealand’s digital products are customer-first," the spokesperson says.
DAN has been something of a stalwart in the local TBWA office, remaining stable despite the slew of executive changes taking place at TBWA since the departure of former chief executive Dave Walden. At the end of last year, TBWA Auckland announced its third boss in as many years, with Catherine Harris replacing Andrew Scott, who in 2015 replaced Todd McCleay.
While Tamahori leaves big shoes to fill, TBWA Australia and New Zealand chief executive Paul Bradbury says the organisation has already appointed his successor.
"We have been working on the succession plan for Che for quite some time, we have had 21 years after all," he says. "We are very pleased to announce that Steph Creasy, who has worked with Che and the DAN team for over eight years will be the new managing director of DAN. Steph has been in this new role since the end of last year to ensure a smooth transition. We are very excited about Steph's vision for UX and the opportunities for growth in the DAN business.”
He also wished Tamahori well for the future.
"This is a dream role for Che and we could not be more proud and excited for him."