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Dentsu Creative’s power duo moves on after less than a year

Mandie van der Merwe and Avish Gordhan have left Dentsu Creative after just 11 months as joint chief creative officers, moving to Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi Australia to head up its creative offering.

The power duo will keep the title of joint chief creative officers in their new roles.

(L-R): Dave Bowman, Patrick Rowe, Mandie van der Merwe and Avish Gordhan

Dave Bowman, chief creative officer of Publicis Groupe ANZ, said he’s excited to bring the pair onboard.

“With their unique people skills, strategic prowess, and creative firepower, I can’t wait to see what these two amazingly talented new-world creatives make possible at the intersection of storytelling, data, technology and media,” he said.

Saatchi & Saatchi Australia’s CEO, Patrick Rowe, added: “Dave and I wanted to double down on creativity at Saatchi & Saatchi, so approaching Mandie and Avish just made sense. Why get one chief creative officer when you can get two with an awards list as long as your arm?

“More importantly, they understand the role creative thinking plays in a new integrated world and will be a driving force for change. We couldn’t be more excited that they’re joining our team.”

The change is the latest to affect Dentsu, which – like much of the industry – has gone through a period of restructure. The agency declined to comment on the duo’s departure when approached by Mumbrella.

On his new appointment at Saatchi & Saatchi Australia, Gordhan said: “This is an agency brand with a storied history and incredible work, locally and globally. The opportunity to be part of that is both humbling and exciting.

“We love bringing ideas and storytelling together in new ways with media, tech and data. And it makes me itchy with anticipation thinking about how we can do that with this team,” he said.

van der Merwe added: “When Saatchi & Saatchi come knocking, you answer. And when the person knocking is Dave Bowman, you take out the fancy biscuits. Between Pat and the team, there is an infectious passion for creativity that is hard to ignore.”

van der Merwe and Gordhan spoke to Mumbrella last year about the success of their long-term partnership.

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