FCB managing director Fleur Head has resigned from the agency to return to her hometown of Wellington.
She says it has not been an easy decision at such an important stage of her career and that it has been driven by family reasons.
“My kids are eight and four now, and every time I see them with their cousins I realise how important growing up around family is.”
This is not to say that she is turning her back on her career, as she already been offered three senior roles in Wellington.
“I’ve made up my mind but I haven’t quite signed on the dotted line yet, so I’m not ready to announce anything at this stage,” she says.
She says that the opportunities she has been offered show that it remains possible to have a successful career in Wellington.
“I really believe that the best of my career lies ahead,” she says.
Fleur, who tendered her resignation before the appointment of new chief executive Dan Martin, is equally optimistic about the future of FCB under new leadership.
“Dan is going to be a breath of fresh air for the agency, and I’ve got a bit of FOMO that I won’t be part of it,” she says.
Despite resigning months ago, Head decided to stay on beyond her notice period to ensure a smooth handover.
“I wanted to leave things in a good place,” she says.
Her intention is now to stay with the agency until early December but adds that this is a provisional date, which may extend further into the final month of the year.
She initially joined the agency in 2007 as head of account services, her first senior agency role—a responsibility made all the more daunting because she hadn’t even reached her 30th birthday at the time.
An ambitious suit, Head embraced the opportunity and played an integral role in not only getting what was then considered a B-grade agency onto important pitch lists but then going on to win them.
Account wins such as Noel Leeming, BMW/Mini and Vodafone saw the agency progressively grow from 45 to 230 staff during Head’s tenure at the business. And as the agency increased in size, Head steadily moved up the ranks toward her eventual appointment as the managing director of the agency.
As evidence of how quickly the reins are sometimes bequeathed unto the younger talent in the industry, Head recalls that it wasn’t too long ago that she was part of what was then known as the CAANZ Kitchen Table, which was focused on developing the future leaders of the industry.
There must’ve been something in the discussions around that table, as Head’s contemporaries Scott Coldham (managing director at Colenso BBDO), Paul Wilson (managing director at Saatchi & Saatchi), Josh Moore (CEO at Y&R NZ) and Mark Cochrane (managing director at Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne) have all gone on to lead their respective agencies.
Head laughs at the idea of this crew once being considered the young talent, saying that they’re probably on the older side now.
“It’s important that we listen to the thoughts of the 23-year-olds on our teams now,” she says.
Other changes at FCB
News of the resignation of Head comes during a period of change for FCB.
Other departures this year include general manager Matt Scott and general manager of retail Kamran Kazalbash.
Scott has left the agency to take over the reins at Assignment Group, while Kazalbash is understood to be pursuing a new venture outside the industry.
While change can be difficult for any business, Head sees a positive in the opportunities these departures create for staff within the organisation.
She points to Jane Wardlaw, whose 15 years of loyalty to the agency have now been rewarded with her promotion to the position Scott previously held.
“We’re just lucky at FCB that we’ve got such depth of talent,” she says.
And as Fleur leaves the agency, it will create another gap for someone within the agency—or perhaps further afield—to build on the work she’s done since 2007.