OMD hires ex-Naked strategist Nick Kavanagh and telco expert Vanessa Nichol


Nick Kavanagh

Media agency OMD has confirmed it has hired former Naked Communications strategy director Nick Kavanagh and also M&C Saatchi’s senior business director of the Optus account Vanessa Nichol.

The former Naked executive departed the agency in July, after the agency was fired by the Labor Party for approaching media outlets in exchange for free advertising and access to then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

He will take up the role of strategy group head, while Nichol will take the lead on one of OMD’s biggest clients Telstra, which in 2012-13 had an $80m spend according to Nielsen.

“I spoke to a lot of agencies in town really and the opportunity at OMD was too good to pass up,” Kavanagh told Mumbrella. “It is one of the biggest agencies in town and who, from a strategic perspective had probably lost their way, a little bit, in the last year or so.”

Gavin Gibson, national head of strategy OMD Australia said: “Nick is an amazing talent who brings a challenger mentality, and strategic leadership for both the OMD brand and our clients.”

Kavanagh said the expansion of the strategy team would be priority for 2014.

“(Joining OMD) was a really good opportunity to come in and reform that strategic product,” said Kavanagh, “we have a big focus on how we bed-in the global planning process and how we going into next year have a strong focus on ideas, as well. With my background at Naked, an agency with strong focus on ideas and strategy, I’m looking to apply that at OMD as well.

“We are building the strategy team as we go. We have a new starter in the strategy team, later this month, and hopefully in the new year, as we start to pick up business we will start to build the team.”

Vanessa Nichol

Vanessa Nichol

Meanwhile Nichols joins OMD with 16 years’ of experience in the telecommunications industry having worked at BT, Optus and Virgin, as national marketing manager, and more recently head of acquisition marketing.

Peter Horgan, CEO OMD Australia said, in a statement: “Vanessa is a strategic-thinking, results driven marketing professional, with unrivalled category experience and a proven track record of managing and launching effective multi-channel communication initiatives that drive business and brand growth. We are very excited about the addition of Vanessa’s leadership and business knowledge on this market leading client.”

The appointment was also welcomed by Telstra chief marketing officer Mark Buckman, who said: “Telstra have worked with OMD for the past seven years, and over the past 18 months we have extended our relationship with them to include a deeper strategic remit. They work with us as a true strategic business partner and do an exceptional job managing our complex business in a quickly evolving landscape. I look forward to Vanessa’s contribution taking this to the next level”

Vanessa Nicol said she was excited by the new adventure. “I’m excited by this new opportunity and challenge; joining a skilled, dynamic team at OMD who have developed a strong business partnership with Telstra. OMD has established itself as an agency of the future by continuing to innovate the offering they provide their clients. I look forward to being part of the team,” she said.

Nic Christensen 


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