New Zealand-born international advertising executive Nicola Bell has been appointed chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, replacing the outgoing Andrew Stone.
Bell, who was born in Auckland and moved with her family to Australia when she was 10, spent 10 years at Ogilvy New York, where she was worldwide managing director on the Kodak, Motorola and Avon accounts. She was the youngest member appointed to the Ogilvy New York management board and the only account leader invited to participate in Ogilvy’s global creative council.
“I am thrilled to be joining Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand. The agency is exceptionally creative and has a proven track record for creating big, compelling brand ideas,” she says. “I have long admired the agency’s unique ability to articulate a contemporary spirit of ‘New Zealandness’ for its national brands. This level of insight and understanding is world class and indicates an ability to create ideas that are compelling and relevant.”
“There is no doubt this is an exciting and challenging time in our business. The era of participation advertising has empowered consumers and given them a significant voice. In this intimate but fragmented media age, we must enable and drive even higher levels of engagement. The challenge is to always drive that engagement through a big brand idea, not simply proliferate new channel options for the sake of it.”
Ian Rowden, chairman and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Asia Pacific, says he is delighted the New Zealand agency has a leader of such calibre.
“In Nicola we have a leader who brings a vast global perspective, an impressive track record of client partnership with some of the world’s best known brands, extensive experience in brand transformation and integrated communications and a passionate eye for game-changing creativity.”
Bell spent eight years at Ogilvy Sydney and was transferred to Ogilvy New York in 1999 to run Dove in North America.
During her six years at the helm of the Kodak account in New York she navigated the brand through its enterprise-wide digital transformation, leading a cross-discipline team spanning over 30 countries, comprising advertising, digital, retail, media strategy, planning and buying, production and implementation.
Her former employer in New York, John Seifert, chairman of Ogilvy North America, says: “Nicola is adored in the creative ranks for her deep understanding of, and sensitivity to, the creative process. She operates seamlessly across disciplines and knows how to build teams with a multiplicity of specialist skills to meet the strategic marketing and communication needs of her clients.”
Bell, her husband and their three-year-old twins will relocate from New York and she starts on 22 February.