Bastion Banjo hires new Melbourne CEO, Alex Carr now Sydney CEO

Bastion Banjo has appointed Michael Godwin, former managing director of Wunderman Thompson Melbourne as its CEO in Melbourne.

Godwin left Wunderman Thompson in late 2020 after 10 years. He started out at JWT and led the Melbourne office through its merger with Wunderman in 2019.

The agency was founded in Sydney by Ben Lyttle and Andrew Varasdi, and was known as Banjo before Bastion Collective took a majority stake in the business in 2018.

Last year, Varasdi transitioned into the role of executive chairman, with former BWM Dentsu managing director Alex Carr joining as managing partner in Sydney. Carr’s role has since transitioned to the New South Wales office’s CEO.

Godwin’s new role sees him tasked with building a creative agency offering that will complement the wider Bastion Collective services on offer at its Melbourne campus.

Speaking of his brief from Bastion Banjo, Godwin said: “The Bastion Collective model represents a way of delivering the upside without the downside. It’s an integrated community of best-in-class specialist businesses, each run by industry leading practitioners, all housed within a single campus, under a single brand, delivering to a single P&L working within integrated teams, tailored to a particular client’s needs.

“This means that Bastion Collective is able to retain the specialised integrity of each business unit, whilst delivering the efficiency and seamlessness of multi-discipline client teams.”

Bastion Collective global CEO Jack Watts, said: “Bringing the strategic and creative expertise of Banjo into the Collective, almost three years ago now, has been a game changer for our business.”

“We are thrilled to now expand that into our Melbourne heartland. We looked for a long time for the right person to build that around, and Mike Godwin is far and away one of the absolute stand outs in creative agency leadership in Melbourne. We are delighted to add another true expert of Mike’s calibre to the rest of our 100 strong team at Cremorne St.”

Prior to his time at Wunderman Thompson, Godwin spent just over 10 years at DDB in Australia and New Zealand, leaving the Sydney office as general manager in 2010.

Godwin added: “On my journey getting to know Bastion and its people, two things have really stood out. Firstly, the sheer quality of the practitioners residing across the group. And secondly, the spirit of collaboration that exists across the business units, which clearly sits very much at the heart of how Bastion operates and is manifested in its customised, integrated client teams.

“I couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity to build a creative agency business within this community – helping attract new clients to the group, as well as offering existing clients with access to best-in-class communications strategy and creative ideation.”

Bastion Banjo’s clients include Alinta Energy, AMP, Ben & Jerry’s, Clubs NSW, Greyhound Racing NSW, NSW Government and the Real Pet Foods Company .

The appointment follows Bastion expanding its footprint in the US with the addition of digital transformation and ecommerce agency, Cyndica Labs, and social media and performance agency, Huntington Pacific Media.


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