Joe Pollard departs Publicis Australia, replaced by Ogilvy’s Andrew Baxter





Publicis Worldwide’s Australia CEO Joe Pollard has left the group for “personal reasons” less than two years after joining and been replaced by Ogilvy Australia boss Andrew Baxter.

The surprise news came overnight from Publicis’ Paris headquarters, but sees Baxter assume control of all Publicis Worldwide assets in Australia, including the struggling Publicis Mojo creative agency, and the 300 strong customer service operation.

Pollard joined the group in June 2012, after stints as CEO of NineMSN and client side at Nike in the US, but has struggled to turn around the fortunes of Mojo, which has lost a number of key clients in recent years, including the majority of its Qantas work.

The move sees Baxter join the global leadership board for the Paris-based Publicis Groupe, but appears to have caught out Ogilvy, who must now start the hunt for a new CEO.

Mike Connaghan, CEO, STW Group said in a statement: “Ogilvy is in outstanding shape and delivering great results to its clients. It has always been known for an absolute passion for driving the best client results and it will continue to deliver this throughout this period of transitional change.

“I will work closely with Ogilvy’s senior management team to provide additional support and guidance until we can make an announcement regarding Andrew’s replacement. We look forward to making that announcement in due course.”

The appointment of Baxter comes after he has run STW controlled Ogilvy, which claims to be Australia’s largest ad agency, for three years.

He started his career in 1993 at Young & Rubicam, moving to head of account management there in 1998 before joining Singleton & Mather in 2004 as executive director, becoming CEO of Badjar Ogilvy in 2007 and head of the whole group in May 2011.

Pollard’s tenure at Publicis has seen the departure of Craig Davis as executive creative director in December 2012 as part of a restructure of the creative department, replaced by Grant Rutherford the former DDB Melbourne ECD.

Badjar Ogilvy is still waiting to learn if it has managed to retain one of its biggest client, with the Myer creative account currently out to pitch, with the shortlist now reduced to Badjar and the Clemenger Group.

The release:

Publicis Worldwide announced today that it has named Andrew Baxter as CEO, Australia. Baxter’s appointment follows the departure of Joe Pollard who decided to leave for personal reasons.

In his new role, Baxter will direct the operations of Publicis Worldwide in Australia, which counts collectively 450 professionals across diverse businesses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. He will also be a member of the Publicis Worldwide Global Management Team.

“Andrew’s appointment is an important move for Publicis Worldwide as he brings tremendous leadership to this important market that will allow us to continue delivering the best services to our clients,”said Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Worldwide. “I would like to thank Joe for the great work she has done up to this point in leading our operations in Australia”

“Andrew brings a unique combination of strong client relationships at the most senior levels, an impressive track record in business growth and clear abilities to innovate ahead of market trends,”said Loris Nold, CEO of Asia Pacific for Publicis Worldwide. “I expect he will contribute significantly to the region as we drive regional connectivity for the benefit of our clients”.

“This is a great honor for me and I would like to thank Arthur and Loris for their confidence. Publicis Worldwide has ambitious plans for the Australian market, which are completely in line with my professional ambitions,”said Baxter. “Our Australian business is in very good shape and I’m looking forward to evolving it further to meet the needs of the brands and marketers it currently serves, as well as prospective clients.”

For the past three years, Baxter held the role of CEO of Ogilvy Australia, where he supervised the launch and development of businesses specializing in advertising, direct marketing, digital, activation, digital media, brand strategy, photography and video, design and ethnic communications. During his tenure, major award-winning and now globally famous campaigns “Share a Coke”and AAMI’s “Rhonda and Ketut”were launched. He worked at Ogilvy for a total of nine years in both Melbourne and Sydney where he held numerous senior business- management positions prior to his appointment as CEO.


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