Kirsty Muddle to depart Cummins & Partners after 11 years for new opportunity

Kirsty Muddle will depart Cummins & Partners after 11 years at the agency, having been appointed as CEO in September.

Cummins & Partners global chief creative officer Sean Cummins told Mumbrella that Muddle told him that she had an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Kirsty Muddle

Muddle said of her departure: “I’ve had a wonderful time at Cummins &Partners. I was given an extraordinary opportunity to found an agency with one of the biggest and brightest characters in advertising, Sean Cummins. It delivered on everything that was promised. I’ve worked with some of the best people in this industry and we did some great work. After 11 years, I’ll leave behind a magnificent agency and take that experience and those memories with me as I move on to the next chapter.”

When asked where she was going, Muddle told Mumbrella: “No comment”.

Cummins said: “When she told me [her departure] I couldn’t deny her. The thing that is most important to remember is not that she’s leaving, but how long she’s been staying. Eleven years is an extraordinary run in any pursuit these days and advertising, it’s almost unheard of. She was my co-founding partner at the agency 11 years ago, extraordinary. We’ve had a lot of fun. We’ve done some cool things and it’s great fun. And it is the way it is.”

Muddle was one of the remaining founders’ partners of the agency, along with: Cummins, Steven Tortosa, Faye Collay and Michelle Wensor.

Cummins continued: “If the job is as big as I believe it is, it’s remarkable for her. I guess the only thing about that is Cummins & Partners has been a breeding ground for some of the best practitioners in advertising today. Thinkerbell came from three folks that worked at Cummins & Partners. Special Group, creatively, is headed up by two ex-Cummins & Partner’s people. We are a great learning environment.”

Cummins also pointed to similar people moves at other agencies recently.

“This is just one of those adjacencies to the times, but let me tell you, we’re not the only agency. I mean, Clemenger’s lost their entire senior leadership crew not because they were doing a bad job, but because things have moved on. We are not the only agency, we won’t be the first and we won’t be the last. It’s just the sign of the times.”

Sean Cummins

In terms of naming her successor, Cummins said there is no rush to do so.

“We are examining a number of options, we know people around the world, we’re talking to people, but there are a few things that we want to structure in the agency first before we make any announcements. There is no rush to replace her. We’ve got a very strong leadership team and so there’s no rush. We’ll get the right person and we’ll make the right announcement at the right time.”

Cummins could also not confirm what Muddle’s departure date would be.

“I think it’s wonderful news for her, but we haven’t nutted out those details because she’s still working at the agency, but that’ll be sorted out in the next week or so.”

On whether Muddle would be on gardening leave, Cummins stated: “I don’t talk about personal contractual things, but I can say that she is a senior executive with privileged information and we’ll decide together how we handle that.

“We’re a different kind of agency. When the Thinkerbell people left, we said: ‘You can start your agency straight away’. We were very kind to people leaving the agency because we don’t see in our people qualities that would suggest that they would break confidence.

“So, no, but in general terms, none. But again, we’ll sit and discuss with Kirsty, but we haven’t made any decisions about that yet.”

Muddle’s appointment as CEO was discussed, along with other female CEO appointments, on the Mumbrellacast.

The agency recently was appointed as DoorDash’s lead creative account.

The agency celebrated ten years in operation earlier this year, operating across Melbourne, Sydney and its New York site.

Andy Copeland was hired by Cummins & Partners as its new chief data and technology officer from IPG Mediabrands’ agency Reprise in August 2021.


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