Justin Hind named CEO of CHE Proximity ahead of Chris Howatson’s departure

CHE Proximity has named Justin Hind, the founder of With Collective, the successor of Chris Howatson as CEO, effective January 2021.

It was revealed two weeks ago that Howatson will be leaving the business in early 2021, and will start his own agency with CHE Proximity’s chief creative officer Ant White.

Hind will take over as CEO from Chris Howatson

Howatson will remain with CHE Proximity until the end of February to enable a smooth transition with the agency’s management team.

Howatson has been at the helm of the agency since 2012, and has seen it grow exponentially over recent years, thanks to significant client wins including NRMA, Samsung, Flybuys, Ebay and Ikea.

Hind co-founded With Collective with Dominique Hind in 2011. The agency was bought by the Dentsu Aegis Network in September 2016. Eight months later With Collective was brought into the Isobar group. Last year, the agency was merged into Isobar, resulting in both CEO Justin Hind and COO Dominique Hind’s departures.

Clemenger Group executive chairman, Robert Morgan, said Hind was the right person for the job.

“Justin has proven himself to be a new-age advertising leader, who combines a digital native mindset with the determination and creativity of a successful entrepreneur,” Morgan said.

“We’re excited to welcome Justin back into the Clemenger Group family after two decades. He returns not only as an outstanding leader with a great track record, but as a true professional with the ambition to take CHE Proximity to the next level in 2021.”

Hind was a member of the Clemenger Group early in his career, starting out at Clemenger Proximity in Brisbane. Hind referenced his return and affection for the agency when commenting on taking the top job at CHE Proximity.

“I couldn’t be more delighted to return to the Clemenger Group, which had such a significant impact early on in my career. Clemenger Proximity set the course for how I saw the future of marketing, advertising, media, data and technology all those years ago. It feels like I’ve come full circle and I’m coming home to an agency with scale, serious capability and a genuine entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.

“I’m joining the absolute market leader when it comes to a purpose-built agency for the future, which is testament to its leadership and world-class team that have made it one of the most awarded agencies in the world.”

“I believe 2021 will be a pivotal year of growth for clients in the way they inspire and engage their customer bases, and I can’t wait to become part of the stellar CHE Proximity team.”

Prior to launching With Collective, Hind spent time BMF, Y&R Brands and Wunderman, developing skills in advertising, e-commerce, digital performance media, CX and data.

Working alongside Hind will be the CHE Proximity leadership team of Andrew Drougas, Renee Hyde, Martin Griffin, David Halter, Mark Gretton, Michelle Brooks, James Greaney, Nicole Flinton-Ferraro, Glen Dickson, Cameron Hoelter, Helen James and Mike Deane.

A replacement for Ant White as CCO is yet to be announced.


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