Former Clemenger BBDO creative boss Stephen de Wolf to depart BBH London and return to Australia

Former Clemenger BBDO chief creative officer, Stephen de Wolf, is returning to Australia after a stint as the CCO at one of London’s premier creative agencies, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH).

In a note to staff, BBH chief executive, Karen Martin, said de Wolf would be leaving the agency for family reasons. He joined BBH in March, 2020.

Stephen de Wolf

Martin lamented that ‘Wolfie’ was “only just getting started” but said he will be a “tough act to follow,” revealing as well that worldwide CCO Joakim (Jab) Borgstrom will take the London CCO role under his remit.

“Stephen de Wolf, our CCO, will sadly be leaving BBH and returning to Australia in July, due to a family member’s ill health. This is very sad news, particularly given the circumstances. Wolfie was just getting started, but sometimes these life situations are taken out of our hands,” she said.

“Wolfie has made a big difference to the creative department in the short time he has been here. He has continued to diversify our creative offering and delivered brilliant work for many of our clients…

“Wolfie will be a tough act to follow, but I am excited that our esteemed worldwide CCO, Joakim (Jab) Borgström, will be returning to the UK to take up the London CCO role alongside his global remit.”

Borgstrom will work alongside newly recruited Helen Rhodes, who recently came on board as ECD from BBC Creative.

Martin added: “Jab, Helen and Wolfie’s creative ambitions are incredibly aligned. Together with the leadership team and you all, we will continue doing what we all set out to do – ‘making the best work of our lives’.”

The hire of de Wolf as CCO was a historic move for the agency, making it the first time in its 38-year history that BBH hired externally for its creative chief.

At the time, Joakim Borgström, worldwide chief creative officer of BBH, said he had been following de Wolf’s career for years.

He said: “Stephen is a talent of the highest calibre and I’ve been jealously following his ideas for years. If I could, I would love to dive into his brain to see what he is cooking, and how he is cooking it.

“I can’t wait to see what he brings to BBH London. It’s going to be amazing.”

De Wolf was with Clemenger BBDO Melbourne from 2014 when he was hired as a creative director. In July 2017 he and Evan Roberts were appointed executive creative directors of the agency, and de Wolf was promoted to chief creative officer in August of 2019.

Whilst at Clemenger, de Wolf was behind the Transport Accident Commission’s 2016 Meet Graham campaign, which was the most awarded creative campaign in the world that year. He was also behind Snickers’ ‘Hungerithm’, Airbnb’s ‘Until We All Belong’ and Myer’s ‘Naughty or Nice Bauble’ Christmas campaign.

Prior to Clemenger BBDO, de Wolf was creative director at 18 Feet & Rising (now known as And Rising) in London. He has spent time at JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi in Sydney.

During his time at BBH, he worked across campaigns including Tesco’s Christmas ad, Burger King’s ‘Tiny Tinie performs Whoppa on a Whopper’, Barclays ‘Moneyverse and Justice4Grenfell’s “Remember the 72”.

Mumbrella has reached out to de Wolf for further comment.


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