‘I was asked whether I would consider it’: Konrad Spilva on job offers before leaving Isobar

Former CEO of Isobar, Konrad Spilva, has revealed he was previously approached by Dentsu International, formerly known as the Dentsu Aegis Network, about his interest in the group’s local CEO role following the departure of Simon Ryan.

“I don’t know what I can say… I was asked,” he said on the Mumbrellacast, which airs this afternoon. “Yeah I probably can say that, I was asked whether I would consider it.”

“A role like that never really appealed to me. Certainly, I loved managing a brand, but in terms of a holding group that is never really kind of what I ever wanted to do.”

Ryan vacated the CEO role at Dentsu in 2018, soon being replaced by Henry Tajer. Tajer’s tenure in the top job was short-lived, following a widespread restructure of the business, including major changes in its agencies’ leadership and the merger of With Collective and Isobar. Tajer’s departure in November last year saw him immediately replaced with Angela Tangas.

Spilva said he also did not see global roles as his path forward.

“There was an opportunity as well to have a larger role in the brand too, like a larger global role in the brand too, but ultimately, I felt like at the time, and again I should probably be careful with what I say, but I felt like at the time I just didn’t want to be part of the problem.” he said.

“I felt like if I was to do a role like that, great, good for the ego, good for the bank balance maybe at home, but you become a bigger cog in a bigger machine and you can really see that the Dentsu holding group and I’m sure the other holding groups are going through it.

“Really those roles needed to move out rather than come in, and it meant that you couldn’t sort of pay that great, mid-level strategist or creative or whatever that pay increase because you’ve got so much salary and so much heaviness caught up in a global regional level, and I just didn’t want to be there.”

Spilva stepped down from Isobar’s CEO role in early 2019, 18 years after co-founding digital agency Visual Jazz.

Visual Jazz was acquired by Aegis Media, which later became Dentsu International, in 2012, installing Spilva as the managing director for ANZ of Visual Jazz Isobar. Spilva’s agency name was dropped in 2013, and he became the CEO of Isobar two years later.

“I fell out of love with the industry a little bit just because I was in a lot of network meetings that suck up a lot of your time, and I got away from working with clients, helping them growth their business which is what I love,” Spilva said of his decision to leave Isobar.

“I loved the business, I still do, I’ve got a lot of love for that brand.  But I think there was a couple of things; the one was find the right time to go, again I probably selfishly wanted to have a bit of a drop-the-mic moment. I had a massive journey, and it’s 18 years of my life but it’s nice to leave it in a good spot, and there was an opportunity to do that.

“There was also a leadership change at the top of Dentsu Australia, and I could have either positioned myself to maybe do a role like that or partner up with another CEO, and I just decided I didn’t want to do that again because I kind of got the point where I’d had enough.”

Spilva went on to say that his decision was also driven by supporting his family, and his wife, Hannah Spilva’s new business LVLY.

“When you’re the CEO of a big agency and the kids are sick, or something happens, you’re still working and she drops everything to do that,” he said.

“I just wanted to flip it on its head and be the dad, and be the support and let that try and flourish.”

Spilva is now the founder and managing partner of creative consultancy, Shadowboxer. In today’s episode of the Mumbrellacast, Spilva will discuss the rise of independents, what Shadowboxer has to offer the industry, and going into business with Simon Ryan.

To hear Mumbrella’s full interview with Konrad Spilva, subscribe to the Mumbrellacast, to receive the episode in your feed when it drops. Episodes of the Mumbrellacast are released weekly on Thursday. 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.