As King heads to Australia, Lish comes full circle as Whybin\TBWA’s new creative sage

StopPress revealed a few weeks back that Whybin\TBWA’s executive creative director Dave King was departing (along with Jodi Willocks, who moved to Assignment) and it’s been announced he’s heading back to Australia to join Innocean Australia in the newly created role of executive creative director. Now chief executive Todd McLeay has confirmed that TBWA\ Melbourne creative director Andy Lish has stepped in to the breach in Auckland. 

McLeay or King wouldn’t confirm the news of King’s departure officially, which made the whole situation a bit bizarre. But Scott Whybin and Todd McLeay were more open a few months back when they talked a lot about the ‘three doors, one agency’ philosophy. And McLeay says the appointment of Lish is an example of that. 

“He’s good and he was instrumental in a lot of the master brand work with ANZ.” 

He was also one of the main brains behind ANZ’s multi-award-winning GAYTM campaign and last year McLeay says he won one of the TBWA\ network’s highest internal honours, the Lee Clow Golden Lion award. 

McLeay says Lish is here indefinitely and, despite the departure of joint creative directors Lisa Fedyzyn and Jono Pryor earlier in the year, he says the agency now has “five or six really senior creative staff working here” and the recent addition of Starseed PR to the Eleven business “gives it some energy around ‘always on”.

“We’re happy,” he says.   

Lish worked as creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi NZ in 2005. And David Walden, in an interview with NZ Marketing a few years ago, said he hired Lish as his first creative director when he established the agency in 1997. So it’s full circle. 

“And unfortunately we had to fire him about six months later,” he said. “That was hard. When you work for a big multi-national and you have to fire somebody, you go: ‘Aw mate, look I’m sorry, it’s not personal, it’s just the fucking place, you know.’ When it’s your own place, you actually have to say, ‘Mate, you’re out of here.’” 

As for King, who worked as national creative director direct for M&C Saatchi Australia before moving back to New Zealand, he said in a release: “When I heard about this opportunity to work with Pete [Fitzhardinge] again, I was immediately interested. His passion to make Innocean Worldwide Sydney a world class agency has been echoed to me by Kun Hee Ahn, Donald Shin and Bob Isherwood. I’m really thrilled to finally get to work with Bob, who is one of the world’s great creative leaders and a really good bloke. To do so on such fantastic brands as Hyundai and Kia makes it even more exciting.”

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