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Razorfish Australia co-founder Iain McDonald departs

McDonald

McDonald

Razorfish has confirmed its co-founder and respected ad industry figure Iain McDonald is leaving the agency next week to concentrate on “personal projects”, but has said he will not start a new digital agency.

McDonald started Amnesia 16 years ago with Terry Carney, before it was sold to Razorfish in 2006, and has been the executive creative director for the merged entity since then.

In a  statement he said: “With things going well for Razorfish and me having ideas I want to pursue without any strings attached, it’s the right time. It’s been carefully planned for a while and I am in no doubt that Razorfish is ready.

“My feelings are very much like that of a teenager leaving home for the first time but with the old family right behind.”

On his blog he said he stayed on initially after the 2006 sale to ensure a smooth transition, with the agency passing through four sets of ownership in four years, before moving from Microsoft to Publicis in 2009.

McDonald is chair of Ad:Tech Sydney and also involved in the AWARD and AME Awards programs.

On his blog today he wrote: “I’m not planning on starting another digital agency. These are exceptional times as the physical and digital worlds fuse so I feel like a kid in a toyshop surrounded by amazing people and opportunities. But I’m going back to my roots and starting some things from scratch.

“For the next year I will focus on a number of new special projects which are new and different and letting those evolve. I’m resisting calling these startups although that could happen if the wind blows kindly. Some of the projects are ambitious (the technology doesn’t exist, yet) and need a lot of work but I’ll hopefully be working with some very smart people on these. Sorry to be vague, hopefully I can say a little more soon.

“The next decade will be really extraordinary for all of us and we will see more change than ever before. This fusion of creativity and technology has certainly passed a tipping point and they must work together in complete harmony. The prize is tomorrow, and there are so many new things that haven’t been seen before waiting to be unlocked. It is really exciting for anyone in this space.”

Razorfish managing director Doug Chapman paid tribute to McDonald’s impact on the agency, adding: “Iain is widely regarded as a digital pioneer and innovator. Those at Razorfish who had the pleasure of working together also know him as a wonderful person, and while we’ll miss him day to day.

“Through his leadership and creativity, Iain has been a driving force to help grow the original agency into the remarkable business it is today, and he’s left behind a legacy of a well respected creative team who will be led by our executive creative director Christian Behrendt. We know Iain will go on to ever more exciting projects and we will maintain strong ties with him.”

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