After around 25 years spent working with various agencies under the Clemenger Group, Clemenger BBDO’s executive creative director Philip Andrew has decided the time is right to pass the baton.
Andrew says he had been thinking about his situation for the past year but a surprise 25th work anniversary party late last year got him thinking harder about what he wanted to do and he made the decision to step down over the break.
“I’ve done everything I can with the agency. Maintenance isn’t as much fun as building something … This is an exciting and relentless business, one where absolutely everything matters. There is something incredibly stimulating and addictive about it but like anything this much fun I’m sure it’s not good for you long term. So during our sublime summer holiday I faced what I had been wondering and decided to kick the habit.”
As for how he will be filling his days, he’s not sure yet. He’s just looking forward to putting away the diary and not having to worry about the day-to-day pressures. He says his partner Aimee McCammon, who works at Assignment Group, has reminded him that all of his ideas have so far been leisure-based and will cost money. But with plenty of Clemenger Group shares after helping to set up Clemenger BBDO, taking a few months off shouldn’t be a problem (some we’ve spoken to wonder whether Peter Biggs, who recently returned from Australia to take up the role as inaugural chairman of the new Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency and has worked closely with Andrew over the years, will be involved in any of his future endeavours).
Andrew is set to finish up on April 30 and Brigid Alkema will take over as executive creative director. Brett Hoskin will be promoted to executive creative director of Proximity Wellington.
“Putting aside his talent, Duster’s a man with a big heart who cares about people, their lives and their careers,” says Alkema. “I’m only one of many he has mentored, there are hundreds all over the world who are where they are today because of his guidance.”
And Hoskin says he’s the Godfather of Wellington advertising, so “we’re not just saying goodbye to a workmate but farewelling an institution”.
- Check out Duster’s tale of the agency’s formative days and its strong connection to Wellington here.
Clemenger Group chairman Jim Moser says Andrew wanted to announce the decision before the arrival of Livia Esterhazy as managing director in March. And while this means there will be wholesale change at the top, Moser is hopeful Andrew will be available for some consulting work with the agency after he departs. Andrew isn’t sure whether that’s a good idea, however, and says that’s currently being negotiated.
Moser says he was keen to keep him on for a couple more years, but Andrew is confident the agency can continue on an upward trajectory as he has absolute faith in the abilities of Alkema, Hoskin and the rest of the team and it has a number of “loyal clients who have been there for a long time”.
Andrew says he’s had an “absolutely fantastic time” in his 25 years in this industry, and he feels he’s leaving the 70-strong agency in very good shape. He believes the work it has created recently for NZTA and many of its other clients is the best it’s ever been, and many awards juries from around the world tend to agree. When NZ Marketing spoke to Holt and Andrew in the middle of last year, they said the agency’s financial performance had also never been better, with ten percent revenue growth across its top ten clients in 2013 and 22 percent revenue growth in the past three years (Holt wouldn’t discuss specifics at the time, but it’s thought its total annual revenue was somewhere between $10-15 million). In the past year, headcount increased by 17 percent; it moved into a new office in 1 Post Office Square after its building at 8 Kent Terrace was damaged in the earthquake; and it won the Education New Zealand, Cricket World Cup, NEC, Worksafe and ex M&C Saatchi clients Rabobank and NZ Police, and retained the Positively Wellington Tourism business after a pitch.
Andrew is also chair of the Axis Awards this year, but he says his decision to leave Clemenger BBDO won’t affect that role.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing that through to the end. I really want this to be an Axis show that’s beyond reproach, with integrity that’s higher than it’s ever been.”