Y&R NZ gives Kane the MD reins, chalks up some new business

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  • March 25, 2014
  • Ben Fahy
Y&R NZ gives Kane the MD reins, chalks up some new business

Steve Kane, currently creative director at Whybin\TBWA, will take a seat in the managing director's chair at Y&R NZ, replacing the outgoing James Hurman. 

Kane, who started out in PR at Mango, was appointed as DDB’s (and New Zealand’s) first experiential creative director at the start of 2010 before moving to Whybin\TBWA in early 2013 and working alongside Toby Talbot and Todd McLeay.

While he admits he doesn't have too much in the way of management experience, he has a varied career and is something of a jack of all trades. And, as Dave Walden said when he was appointed at TBWA\, he has "a touch of the quality of audacity". 

"I can't say I'm the world's best managing director, because I haven't been one. But I've had a lot of experience managing people over the years in PR. I've also worked with some great MDs in my time, I've been a suit and I certainly have an opinion."

And he says his wide variety of experience in the more than 20 years he's been in the industry means he has an understanding of different parts of the business and their various causes. 

"It's about respect. You need to have respect for the staff, respect for the idea, respect for the client and respect for the shareholders." 

Kane will move to Y&R in around one month and he says he's loved his time at Whybin\TBWA but he couldn't pass up this opportunity.

UPDATE: Todd McLeay, Whybin\TBWA's chief executive, says Kane has done a bloody good job of bringing the new creative team together and helping to create a culture that made it work. And, as a consequence of that—and as a tribute to his efforts—he says the agency won't be as badly affected by his departure as it may have been six months ago. 

"The way we've structured the business means we've got a reasonable amount of cover in the main team, so we'll move people into the territory where he was," he says. 

Y&R's executive creative director and chief executive Josh Moore (the CEO in his title is new, but it's mostly an official confirmation of what he's been doing for the past few years), says he's really looking forward to working with Kane. And as well as the changes at the top, there have also been some changes in the creative department. Creative director Maria Ward has recently moved to Special Group and Guy Denniston, ex-PublicisMojo Auckland, has replaced her. 

Moore says it is also adding a second creative director to the Auckland office, and while an appointment has been made, he wasn't able to announce it yet. He says Y&R has also hired Melissa Hill from Clemenger Brisbane as its new financial director. 

Moore, who batted away speculation about the agency's performance after Hurman's departure was announced by saying Y&R had grown by 25 percent in the past year, says the agency has won another five new pieces of business recently, adding to earlier wins for Co-Op Bank, Westfield, City Fitness and Interislander. 

He wasn't able to comment on those new accounts, but Y&R is thought to have won the Nutricia business in New Zealand and Australia and it was behind Karicare's recent 'Made with Love In' campaign. 

It's also thought to have won some significant government work and a big piece of business from Independent Breweries/Asahi.

On the other side of the coin, it declined to pitch on the Avis/Budget account last year and, more recently, it also declined to pitch on LG (which Moore says was very small and project-based). 

It is also thought to be involved in the current BMW media pitch, along with rumoured contenders Dynamo and Vizeum (incumbent FCB Media has declined to pitch). 

While Y&R only moved into its new offices in the City Works Depot around one year ago, Moore says all the desks are now full and it is currently drawing up plans to build a new mezzanine floor to house more staff. 

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