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Dani Bassil to lead combined Clemenger BBDO agency; Jim Gall resigns

Clemenger Group has merged its two Clemenger BBDO Melbourne and Sydney agencies to form a single Clemenger BBDO Australia offering, with Dani Bassil set to lead it nationally.

Dani Bassil will return to Australia from the UK, where she has been CEO of Digitas for the past four years.

Bassil to lead united Clemenger BBDO

Clemenger Group CEO Les Timar said: “Dani is the perfect fit for this new role and her appointment is a coup for our Group. Her track record in seamlessly connecting data, media, creative and technology was exactly what we were seeking in the next leader of Clemenger BBDO.”

The group said it is bringing its Melbourne and Sydney agencies together to provide clients with the best capability and expertise across its two locations.

Clemenger Group said CEO of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, Jim Gall has resigned from the agency, with managing partner Julian Bell taking on the MD role in Melbourne for Clemenger BBDO Australia. Gall spent almost a decade at Clemenger Group, after his agency Redhanded was acquired in 2013, becoming CEO in Melbourne in 2020.

Melbourne CEO, Jim Gall leaves the agency

“Dani relishes the incredible opportunity she will have to build on Clemenger BBDO’s global reputation for creativity, through the integration and development of enhanced capabilities to most effectively solve our clients’ business problems,” Timar continued.

Bassil added: “It is wonderful to be coming home to lead one of the world’s most respected agencies as it heads into a new era.”

“My ambition is to always empower people to be themselves and do their best work, in an open and collaborative culture. I can’t wait to roll my sleeves up, help our teams take creativity to places it’s never been before and grow the businesses of our clients.”

New Melbourne MD, Julian Bell

While in the UK, Bassil led Digitas, also holding a partner role at J.Walter Thompson London, director of operations at POSSIBLE, and head of operations at Grey amongst other roles. She has spent the last two decades in the UK market.

Timar said on Gall’s departure: “Jim has made an outstanding contribution in leading business and cultural transformation across several of our operating companies in Australia and across the Tasman, and we’re sad to see him leave. He’s maintained an open dialogue this year about his intentions to pursue his own business interests and helped us identify Dani Bassil as the right person to take Clemenger BBDO forward.”

A national Clemenger BBDO Australia’s board will include Dani Bassil, Jim Curtis, Jacqueline Witts, Paul Rees-Jones, Brent Kerby, Craig Roberts and Richard Schloeffel.

Kerby joined the group at the start of this year as Clemenger BBDO Sydney CEO, and will retain his title the group told Mumbrella.

The group has hinted at integration across the agencies for several months, with Melbourne ECD, Jim Curtis elevated to the role of national chief creative officer in July, and Jacqueline Witts becoming chief strategy officer across both Clemenger BBDO Melbourne and Sydney last month.

A coming together of the agencies has long been touted, with Nick Garrett briefly CEO of Clemenger Melbourne and Sydney, despite the two agencies staying separate formally. Upon his departure, Gayle While became CEO of Clemenger Melbourne, with Bosilkovski taking over in Sydney.

Joining the Melbourne outfit in 2015, Garrett then added the struggling Sydney operation to his remit in 2017, with executive chairman of the Clemenger Group Robert Morgan saying at the time that Garrett was both loved by clients and a magnet for talent.

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