Chris Howatson to depart CHE Proximity

Update: It’s now been confirmed both Chris Howatson and Ant White will depart CHE Proximity to start their own business. 

CHE Proximity chief executive officer Chris Howatson will be leaving Clemenger Group Mumbrella understands.


Howatson has been a driving force in the growth of CHE Proximity to become one of the leading agencies in the market, having held the role of CEO since 2012 when he was 27.

During his tenure, the agency has become one of the most awarded at the Mumbrella Awards, including multiple agency of the year titles.

The agency has done award winning work for RACV, IAG, Velocity Frequent Flyer,, Cochlear, Mazda, Latitude Financial and more while Howatson has been at the helm.

Howatson  (right) receiving one of a number of Mumbrella Awards the agency has won over the years

His success in bringing CHE Proximity back to prominence led him to be announced as Clemenger Group’s group chief executive officer – agency brands in April last year, giving him leadership of $150m in revenue and 700 staff.

At the time, CHE Proximity accounted for more than half of the group’s revenues, and Howatson continued to maintain his role as CEO of the agency alongside the new group role.

According to his LinkedIn, however, the group role ended March 2020.

That was a month prior to Howatson having to make 35 positions at CHE Proximity redundant as the effects of the global pandemic began to take hold locally.

Some of the CHE Proximity team

At the time, Howatson said, “A number of our clients were central or adjacent to travel, leisure and lifestyle categories and were forced to hibernate their businesses with immediate effect upon the arrival of COVID-related measures. These clients have endured a terrible time and we’re delighted to see their businesses slowly remerge.

“Their closures obviously had an impact on our business, and as a result we made the very difficult decision to let 35 people go, or 8% of our total workforce.”

Since then, CHE Proximity has been building back up including re-opening the offices and making senior hires including Mike Deane and Tim Russell.

Howatson has been contacted for comment. Mumbrella understands an official announcement will be made soon.



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