Cummins & Partners’ Sean Cummins hits out at agencies ‘poaching’ staff, makes new hires

Cummins & Partners CEO Sean Cummins attributed the need to make six new creative hires to other Melbourne agencies – including The Monkeys, TBWA and Chris Howatson’s new venture Howatson + White – ‘poaching’ his staff.

“With an industry leading staff retention rate, the Cummins & Partners creative department has remained largely unchanged in recent times, but there has been a spate of other Melbourne agencies offering jobs to our well-trained highly professional teams,” Cummins said.

“It’s been a bit of known industry thing that when you’ve worked for us you must be pretty good. We have a culture of nurturing, mentoring and developing very good creative brains, who are also very hardworking and nice people.”

Cummins & Partners CEO Sean Cummins

In his statement Cummins names five agencies, all of which Mumbrella has contacted for comment.

“Clearly agencies like Thinkerbell, TBWA, M&C Saatchi, The Monkeys and even the new agency Howatson+White think so as they have all enthusiastically chased our teams and whilst we hate to see our people leave we know two things: our culture breeds more talent and most of our people come back,” Cummins said.

In response to Mumbrella’s request for Cummins & Partners’ staff retention rate, the agency responded it was 90% last year.

Heath Collins, creative director at Cummins & Partners, said: “We are working hard at creating a combination of brilliant senior talent and exciting new talent and nothing in the middle. We feel rejuvenated by the new crew we’ve recruited and we are equally very proud of the teams that have gone and joined very good agencies.”

Cummins added: “Obviously that means we do something right and the Cummins & Partners influence on the Melbourne advertising scene continues to grow. I guess though if clients want the real deal in terms of creative… they can always come straight to us at the source. Sorry I have to say that only because it’s true.”

The six new hires include art directors Melany Ang, Jamie Clifford and Lily Lazzarotti, and writers Annabel Begeng, Claudia Sarosiek and Sarah Vanderschoot. All but Sarosiek were AWARD School graduates last year.


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