Colenso BBDO promotes within creative team following recent departures

Clemenger Group’s New Zealand agency, Colenso BBDO, has appointed new creative leadership, following the recent departures of executive creative director Dan Wright and chief creative officer Levi Slavin in recent months.

Current ECD, Simon Vicars has been promoted into the CCO role, while Maria Devereux adds chief innovation officer to her current ECD title.

The agency said that Vicars is New Zealand’s “most awarded creative ever”, with 44 Cannes Lions won as a copywriter, as well as “consistently featuring in the Cannes Lion top ten rankings for the past decade.

The new creative leadership team, promoted from within.

He rejoined the agency in 2020 from Adam & Eve DDB in London, where he spent three years. While at the agency, he worked on campaigns for Marmite, Virgin Media, Mars Petcare and Adidas, which included a collaboration with EA Sport. During his time at the agency, it won Cannes Agency of the Year in 2018. He was previously creative group head at Colenso BBDO between 2011 and 2017.

Devereux joined the agency in 2016 from Special Group, also currently holding the title of creative group head. She has been recognised for award winning campaigns for NZ Breast Cancer, Pedigree and Mars. She is currently part of the Mentally Healthy Change Group, working to develop a mentor based leadership program to aid new pathways into the industry.

Devereux also started her career at Colenso, before taking on roles at Taxi in Toronto then Y&R New Zealand.

Managing director of Colenso BBDO, Angela Watson said: “Simon and Maria are homegrown worldclass talent who spent formative years at Colenso, headed off overseas to gain international experience and recognition, before returning home to us. From DB Export Brewtroleum to Pedigree SelfieSTIX, their track-records for creative and effective work are seriously impressive.”

Watson was appointed as MD of the agency in April this year, following Scott Coldham’s depature at the beginning of this year after 15 years with the agency.

L-R: Levi Slavin, Scott Coldham and Nick Worthington led Colenso to Agency of the Decade

“They both embody the unique creative spirit of Colenso and have that brilliant and rare mix of extreme talent and wonderful humanity. We’re excited about what’s coming and the epic things we’re going to do together.”

Vicars said: “Leading Colenso comes with a legacy to live up to. Maria and I look forward to partnering closely with our clients, and getting on with it.”

After leaving the agency in September, Slavin soon after reappeared in his native Australia as chief creative officer at agency start up Howatson + Company, taking on the role founding partner Ant White left in clouded circumstances.

The former ECD, Wright has joined Nick Garrett, also a former Colenso boss, this year as chief creative officer for Sydney and New Zealand at Deloitte Digital, with Colenso colleague Ahmad Salim also appointed as managing director of Deloitte Digital Creative in New Zealand.

In Coldham’s time at Colenso BBDO, alongside Slavin and creative chairman Nick Worthington, he helped the agency win Cannes Agency of the Decade for the Pacific region while it consistently ranked in the world’s top ten agencies.

Coldham later joined the board at New Zealand outdoor company Lumo Digital Outdoor.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.