One day after it was announced that M&C Saatchi Group Australia Executive Creative Directors Mandie van der Merwe and Avish Gordhan were departing the agency, Dentsu Creative Australasia announced the appointment of the pair as its new Chief Creative Officers. They will report to Dentsu Creative Australia and New Zealand CEO Kirsty Muddle.
The pair brings more than two decades of global experience to Dentsu Creative, having spent the past four years as joint ECDs at M&C Saatchi Sydney following a stint as freelancers.
Gordhan and van der Merwe previously worked at Cummins&Partners, alongside Muddle, who last year departed the agency to become CEO at Dentsu Creative Group.
“Mandie and Avish shape what’s now and what’s next. They’re born leaders with deeply held beliefs that drive their behaviors,” said Muddle. “They want to do work that has never been done before, stuff that shapes society, creates culture, and invents the future.”
Fred Levron, Dentsu Creative Global Chief Creative Officer added: “Clients are looking to differentiate their brands in new and meaningful ways. To help them achieve this and navigate the modern world our creative leadership needs to embody all the principles of Modern Creativity, able to deliver ideas that are big enough to live anywhere, bold enough to chart new executional territory and rich enough to connect personally with millions. Avish and Mandie are exactly that.”
Says van der Merwe: “I’m truly honored to lead the creative offering and be part of this incredible team. It took just one chat with Kirsty and Fred and we were hooked. An agency that centralizes creativity and puts it at the heart of everything is a pretty difficult thing to ignore as a creative being.”
Adds Gordhan: “We are very grateful for the opportunity M&C Saatchi gave us and are really proud of the team we helped build. At the same time, it is hard not to feel a bit giddy by the possibilities of Dentsu Creative and the agency’s vision of building brands through entertainment, culture, and content. And the chance to be part of Dentsu’s Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway, and learn about the oldest living culture’s approach to creative thinking, is really exciting.”
Van der Merwe and Gordhan will join Denstu Creative’s leadership team in October, and work alongside Sarah McGregor, Marcus Tesoriero, and Anne Boothroyd as Executive Creative Directors, Gayle While, Chief Client Officer, Tim Powell, Chief PR Officer and David Halter, Chief Strategy Officer. They’ll also play a role in delivering Creativity Everywhere at Dentsu, the agency said in a release.