Mescall takes national role at McCann as Sydney ECD departs

John Mescall: Now McCann’s national ECD

Creative agency McCann has merged its Sydney and Melbourne creative operations with John Mescall leading the team as national executive creative director.

The move follows the departure of McCann Sydney’s ECD Oliver Maisey, who left the agency in November.

The restructure comes amidst speculation that the agency is set to lose key Melbourne client Holden.

Mescall, previously Melbourne based, will now spend two to three days a week in Sydney.

Mescall joined from Smart agency in September 2011 following a reverse takeover by McCann which also saw Smart’s CEO Ben Lilley take the helm from Chris Mort, McCann’s then CEO and chairman.

Mescall said the restructure was not directly linked to Maisey’s departure. “Ollie left for personal reasons and when we were deciding what to do with that position, it fell into place that the best thing for us was to consolidate myself across the entire business and put in really strong creative leadership within the offices.”

“From Day One coming into McCann we decided we were going to operate with a national structure even though we had two offices. We wanted very strong national creative leadership and strong local leadership. It’s like the tiers of government, you’ve got national, state and local – if we could do away with state we’d be a lot better.”

In Sydney, Kieran Flanagan and Joe Hawkins have been promoted to joint creative directors. Flanagan joined McCann with the Smart takeover in September 2011. Hawkins joined from R/GA Singapore as associate creative director in June last year.

In Melbourne Pat Baron, who was one of the leads with Mescall on the successful Dumb Ways to Die, and Annie Price who followed Mescall from Smart, are the joint creative directors.

According to Mescall, the creative teams will work across the same clients. He said: “Just because a creative is in the one office doesn’t mean you’re the best person for the brief. The more people you can put onto a project, the bigger the pool of talent the more chance you have of the getting the right people for the job.”

“Clients are the ultimate beneficiaries. There aren’t too many clients that want to just activate in Sydney or just activate in Melbourne.”

Asked about the potential loss of Holden, which he declined to comment upon, Mescall said: “It does allow you to smooth out the peaks and troughs. The broader you spread the less likely a client leaving any one office will impact that office. And on the flipside, if you pick up a client in one office you may not hire in that office. You might hire in another office because you might find great people who don’t want to shift cities.”

He added: “We’re not looking to shrink. We’re looking to grow.”

Colin Delaney

  • This story first appeared in the new, weekly tablet edition of Encore

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