McCann appoints Ashley Farr as CEO, agency now one year into plan to ‘be famous again’

New McCann CEO Ashley Farr

McCann has rejigged its senior management line-up, appointing Ashley Farr as chief executive of McCann Australia.

The move means agency chairman and CEO Ben Lilley will have more time to develop McCann’s group brands, which include McCann Health, MRM and Smart, the agency with which Lilley made a reverse take over of McCann in September last year.

Farr, who was also part of the Smart take over team, rises from MD of McCann Sydney to national CEO.

Lilley noted: “The strategy was always to give McCann dedicated leadership on a national level. We have been operating as a single agency offering across Sydney and Melbourne for some time now, and with Ash at the helm we will sharpen our focus on combining resources from both offices to provide the best possible solutions for our clients.”

Farr added: “McCann is an advertising icon and it is a great honour to lead the team reinventing it. We have already made huge progress by bringing in the right people with the right skill sets, improving our creative output, bringing in new clients and hanging on the ones that were ready to walk under the old McCann.”

“But we are year one of a four-year plan and we have a long way to go. My team and I are ready for the challenge of maintaining the momentum and continuing to grow and strengthen McCann in Australia,” he said.

“To make McCann famous again we’ve gone back to what made it famous in the beginning, by focusing on brand building not executions or channels. At a time when people can shop anywhere at any time, brands need to become stronger than ever – in the end, the emotional connect to the brand is what people choose. With 100 years of brand building, McCann is perfectly positioned to help businesses build and strengthen their brands.”

McCann’s new business wins in recent months have included Lion Nathan National Foods, Twinings, Suzanne Grae and Coca-Cola Amatil Hot Beverages.


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