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M&C Saatchi’s ECD Michael Canning departs for ‘personal venture’

M&C Saatchi’s executive creative director Michael Canning is set to leave the agency at the end of the month.

Canning’s departure has been in the offing since November last year despite M&C Saatchi making a string of on-the-record denials to Mumbrella since first being asked about his exit late last year.

Canning: Departing M&C Saatchi after two years

The agency finally confirmed the news in a press release this afternoon, saying Canning was pursuing a new opportunity. The announcement included a quote from him saying: “With the start of the new year I’ve decided that the time is right for me to spend some quality time on a personal venture that I’m passionate about.”

M&C Saatchi is one of Australia’s biggest creative agencies with clients including Commonwealth Bank and Woolworths. It also owns media agency Bohemia. However, M&C Saatchi had a tough 2017, losing one of its biggest clients NRMA, after the account moved to The Monkeys.

Canning joined the creative agency in 2015 from his previous role at 72andSunny LA as its group creative director. He was brought in to replace Ben Welsh who was moved sideways to lead the agency’s Asian output before being hired as DDB’s chief creative officer last May.

Canning had previously also worked at agencies including Leo Burnett and BMF.

Jaimes Leggett, CEO of M&C Saatchi, said in the announcement: “We have always admired him for his creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit. We’re excited to see his next venture. I’d like to thank him for everything he has done at the agency.”

The formal announcement of Canning’s departure comes three months after Mim Haysom – the general manager at M&C Saatchi – left the agency “to pursue another opportunity”.

In October, the creative agency announced BMF’s executive creative director, Cam Blackley would be joining the agency as its chief creative officer across both the Melbourne and Sydney offices. Blackley is replacing Andy DiLallo, who left M&C Saatchi to join TBWA in February last year.

Mumbrella can reveal that Paul Coles, the client services director at M&C Saatchi’s retail agency 1440, has also left the agency.

Coles: Also gone from M&C Saatchi

Coles confirmed his departure but declined to comment further.

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