After serving as the managing director of Y&R NZ for fewer than two years, James Hurman is set to bid farewell to the agency.
In 2012, shortly after Y&R NZ re-established itself and moved into its swanky new digs at Wellesley Street’s City Works Depot, Hurman was recruited to help executive creative director Josh Moore redirect agency after several difficult years, which culminated in 2009 with the loss of BNZ, then the agency's biggest account.
In an interview with NZ Marketing magazine in October last year, Hurman attributed the need to move to a new location to the troubling period the agency had endured.
"There were a lot of ghosts in that building. The agency had seen some really hard times. When people came in they were reminded of that. One of the benefits of moving was leaving behind those ghosts," he said of the move, which predated his arrival at Y&R NZ.
Shortly after starting his stint at the agency, Hurman assisted Moore in orchestrating a slew of key staff changes in an effort to reinvigorate the agency.
Given that Y&R's New Zealand branch wasn't enjoying its most lucrative patch, it's thought that Y&R's global holding company WPP Group footed the bill for the location and staff changes—and with this investment came the expectation of results.
While Y&R NZ has won the Interislander, City Fitness, Co-operative Bank and Westfield accounts with Hurman and Moore at the helm, some industry rumours suggest that the agency's success wasn't deemed sufficient to appease the demands set by head office. So did this contribute to Hurman's departure?
Moore was quick to rubbish those claims, citing the fact that the agency has grown by a huge 25 percent in the last year, and he added that there was "obviously no foundation for the rumour."
Hurman added that his departure was amicable and that he had decided to leave the agency – and the advertising industry in general – to launch a new creative company focused primarily on product innovation, which will be based at the new innovation precinct at Wynyard Quarter.
“Like a lot of people in this industry I’ve had a little voice telling me to start my own venture for some time, and it’s finally gotten the better of me. It’s been a fantastic journey at Y&R NZ and I’ll miss everyone here hugely. But I feel great about the health the agency is in and I’ll excitedly watch Josh and the team’s success this year,” he said in a release from Y&R NZ.
Hurman also pointed out that he was proud of what he had achieved during his tenure as the agency's managing director.
"Y&R's been massively successful – we grew 25 percent last year, won a tonne of new business, put an amazing leadership team in place and won at both Cannes and the Effies, which Y&R hadn't done for a long time. I'll definitely look back on it as a success and a really enjoyable time."
Hurman’s successor has already been appointed, but Y&R is yet to announce who it is. Thus far, the agency has only said that Hurman would remain as the managing director "for the foreseeable future" (a period thought to be around five weeks) in order to ensure a smooth transition.