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Howatson + White officially becomes Howatson + Company, keeps current clients

Howatson + White has officially become Howatson + Company with Chris Howatson taking sole ownership of the business following the recent departure of Ant White just eight months after the business launched.

It was revealed that White had left the agency on 11 August, although no comment was forthcoming at the time.

The agency has now released an official statement confirming the name change and the reason for White’s departure, “to take time out and spend more time with family”.

In an interview with Mumbrella, Howatson revealed that White’s departure “was a bit of a shock” and that the agency went through a transition period, but that clients had been supportive and the staff now know exactly what is ahead.

“This is something we didn’t plan for and is not a reflection of how we were set up,” Howatson told Mumbrella.

“I called clients when it happened and the support from them was exceptional, I was humbled by the reaction.

“It’s been a period of transition and we’ve been as open as we can with our people,” he continued. “We’ve been focusing on clients and the work we are doing as well as the vision for our future. The staff wanted to know what was ahead. They wanted assurances, and they have those now. We’ll be here for decades to come.”

When asked whether he would be looking for additional investment or another partner, Howatson was quick to say ‘no’ but admitted that there had been approaches.

“No, this is it. We have had people approach us about investment or collaboration, which is nice, but we are good as is.”

In a statement, the agency confirmed it would continue to operate one model with offices in both Sydney and Melbourne and will continue to service current clients including Belong, Allianz and Maurice Blackburn.

Howatson (right) with Renee Hyde (MD, middle) and Gavin Chimes (ECD, left).

Furthermore, the agency highlighted its commitment to diversity and inclusion, stating that “the management team is 62% female and the agency offers an industry-leading return to work program where parents are offered full-time pay for a part-time week for the first 12 months after parental leave”.

Howatson also said he would be continuing to “over-invest” in senior talent.

“This is a key difference at Howatson + Company,” he said. “We seek out the best multidisciplinary people who are motivated to act, not just advise. Our practice leaders, especially in technology and media, are people who would be managing directors in agencies of single specialism.

“Our vision remains to create an agency that endures over the decades to come, being a lighthouse for Australian creativity, influencing people and culture the world over.”

When quizzed about what the end of the year holds for the rebranded agency, Howatson told Mumbrella he and the staff were looking forward to being in the two new offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

“Lockdown will be over at some point and we have two great places to go to. We have that to look forward to. In the meantime, we are just building and creating great teams. It’s easy to convey culture on teams – a lot is how to treat people and collaborate with people. It’s been easy to establish our standards in lockdown and we’re making great progress.”

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