M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment managing director Jamie Gilbert Smith exits

M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment Australian managing director Jamie Gilbert Smith has left the business.

Sport & Entertainment global CEO, Steve Martin, told Mumbrella the decision had been a hard one to make, but that ‘something had to give’ and Gilbert Smith’s departure gave the business room to restructure and focus closer on digital.

Martin [left] and Gilbert Smith

Martin, who relocated to Sydney a year ago, said his time in Australia had allowed him to understand the business’ local arm better. During this time, and the added pressures of COVID, it became clear that the business wasn’t operating in the most effective way.

“The last 12 months have given me a great chance to really dive into the market and look closely at the business structure,” Martin said.

Out of the seven Sport & Entertainment agencies operated by M&C Saatchi globally, the most successful ones operate with a partnership approach, said Martin. Taking a lead from the outposts in Berlin, New York and Los Angeles, Sydney will also now operate under the partnership model, with newly appointed head of communications Krystyna Frassetto forming one part of the duo and a head of sponsorship taking the other side. That role is currently being recruited for and reports directly to Martin.

Gilbert Smith had been with the business for over seven years, joining from Ensemble Melbourne.

The focus going forward, said Martin, will be on expanding the agency’s digital and social capabilities, especially with the pressures brought about by COVID-19 and the impact it has had on live sport.

The restructure will allow Sport & Entertainment to invest more ‘in the centre’ of the agency with more investment in creative.

For now, Martin said the business is hopeful that there are better times on the horizon and that under the new structure Sport & Entertainment will be able to maximise the return on these opportunities.

“It was a tough decision but something had to give so the business was fit to keep moving forward,” said Martin.


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