CHE Proximity snares Ben Shepherd as chief media officer

The former director of PwC’s media practice, Ben Shepherd, is to join CHE Proximity as its chief media officer on 19 June.

CHE Proximity is led by Chris Howatson, who himself was recently promoted to oversee all of Clemenger Group’s agencies following the success of his consultancy-style approach. He said Shepherd’s appointment deepened the agency’s consultancy capabilities.

Shepherd will lead CHE Proximity’s new media practice across Australia

Shepherd was a founding member of PwC’s CMO Advisory Practice. Before he joined the consultancy, he was the head of strategy and innovation at OMD.

Now, he will lead CHE Proximity’s media practice across Australia, and work in partnership with the agency’s other leaders across creative, data, technology and CX.

Howatson said Shepherd is a stand-out leader in the media and consulting fields.

“He is curious, tenacious and absolutely driven to achieve success for his clients. He has the perfect balance of incumbent media knowledge and traditional experience thinking,” Howatson said.

Shepherd noted both he and Howatson came from the same school of thought when it comes to creating value for marketers.

“Chris and I share the same idea of the opportunities within media and the best way to approach it in order to create material value for marketers. We have a model that is unlike any other in market and one that will deliver strategic rigour, consultancy capabilities as well as operational and delivery excellence,” he said.

He also praised the evolving CHE Proximity business model, and noted the increasingly, unnecessarily complicated media world.

“The CHE Proximity approach to connected creativity was appealing to me as it merges rational, data-led thinking and analysis, with creative thinking and strong capabilities across data, design, customer experience and technology to build business-changing work for its clients,” he said.

“Media in general is much more complex than it needs to be,” he added. “CHE Proximity’s pure focus on client outcomes is aligned with my personal values and we will continue to build upon this model of complete transparency in order for our efforts to be completely focused as an organisation at making our clients’ brands more valuable.

“The ability to lead a practice into its next evolution, free of an incumbency or legacy practices or ways of working, is incredibly liberating and exciting.”

David Halter, the CSO at the organisation, also noted the importance of accountability from media agencies.

“We’re managing enormous spends for our clients. It’s easy to become desensitised to the value, but we always come back to the simple adage of ‘How would we spend it if it were our money?’ This encourages a performance culture and a desire to not spend it if we don’t have to. We’ll often direct paid investment into owned channels if that is the most effective and efficient path to take,” he said.


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