As is often the case in the advertising biz, losing big clients usually means losing staff. And after Sugar decided not to go back for a BNZ booty call, managing director Jeremy Johnston says it has said goodbye to approximately four full-time equivalents over the past few months. But now that the "recalibration" is complete, he says the newly restructured business is on the upward trajectory, as evidenced by the arrival of ex-Ogilvy executive creative director Damon O'Leary, who has joined as creative partner.
"Damon needs no introduction. It's a bit of a coup from my perspective," says Johnston. "As well as being a top-tier creative director, he's also a a bloody nice guy and bloody nice to deal with."
Johnston jokes that O'Leary's well-renowned gyrations for Battle of the Ad Bands, which is coming up soon, was a key part of the hiring policy.
He says this is the first of two significant creative appointments, with O'Leary's creative partner announced shortly. A fourth managing partner will also be appointed.
"To offer equity in the agency and attract new partners of this quality we will wind down the old legal entity, with all minority shareholders paid out, and will trade under a new entity from August 1. The Sugar brand will be modified or changed to reflect the new line up. We'll let you know this once all partners have been announced. In the meantime it's business as usual. Thanks to all our clients who have been fantastic during a time of change. Thanks also to Ross Goldsack and Sonya Berrigan who have been a marvellous support."
Creative director Tim Huse resigned a few months back, but has stayed on as a contractor and is currently working with O'Leary on the handover.