Danny Bass and Steve Yurisich depart dentsu as new company structure is revealed

Dentsu ANZ has revealed a new and simplified model to “create meaningful growth for clients”, which will see dentsu Media boss Danny Bass and Merkle boss Steve Yurisich depart.

Aimed at putting “client solutions at the heart of the business, with a focus on connecting its world class capabilities”, the new structure will see dentsu operate across two areas: Client Counsel & Commerical, and Product + Practices, with two new leadership roles created.

Current chief client officer, Fiona Johnston, will take on the new head role for the client and commercial side, while current Dentsu Creative boss, Kirsty Muddle, will assume leadership of all product and practices across ANZ.

Rob Harvey will remain as CEO of NZ and continue to bring dentsu’s cross-Tasman capabilities even closer together.​ The three will continue to report into dentsu ANZ’s CEO Patricio De Matteis.

“Our clients are experiencing increasing pressure to evolve at speed. We need to help them deliver at the pace they need and the consumer expects. Importantly with a solution and product that delivers growth now and for the next,” said De Matteis.

“What excites me is the convergence of all of our capabilities, strategy, data & tech, creative, media, CXM to innovate for our clients, without any barriers. Not only can we move at the pace our clients want, but create at the pace consumer’s need.”

The dentsu brands – Dentsu Creative, iProspect, Carat, DentsuX, SMG, Cox Inall Ridgeway, TAG and Merkle – will remain active.

“This is no reflection of the capabilities, relationships, and leadership Danny or Steve have brought into our business. We are grateful for their huge contribution and support in helping us shape what a winning future state model for dentsu looks like, and to help us set a strong platform for  growth of our media and Merkle brands,” De Matteis said.

Just last week, dentsu International’s former head of brand marketing ANZ move to IPG’s Mediahub to take on a newly creative role of chief strategy officer. The agency also recently lost freelancer Roz Schimshaw, who has moved to independent HERO as head of production.

Last month, former Melbourne managing director at iProspect, Paul Murphy, announced his next move after being among the suite of Dentsu’s senior redundancies late last year.

The pre-Christmas redundancies also saw APAC leaders Cheuk Chiang and John Riccio get cut.

2023 saw a net loss of A$109.5 million (10.7 billion yen) at the Japanese holding company, compared to a net profit of A$612 million (59.8 billion yen) in the previous year. When financials were released, it was understood the group would be looking to further cut costs in 2024, bolstering operational efficiency with the continued roll out of the One Dentsu model.


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