APG chairman Russ Mitchinson moves from DDB to Leo Burnett



One of Australia’s most prominent planners Russ Mitchinson has left DDB and is joining Leo Burnett as its new head of strategy, Mumbrella can reveal.

Mitchinson, who was planning partner at DDB Sydney and is the chair of the Communications Council Account Planning Group (APG), will be joined at Leos by Emma Montgomery who joins as head of connect having spent the past two years leading Starcom Mediavest’s human experience centre.

DDB has also moved to bolster its planning capabilities hiring Sam Payne from renowned London agency Mother as planning director. In Mother’s UK office he worked with clients including Intel, Acer, Unilever and Aria, before spending a year in its China office growing the brand there.

The agency had previously announced the hires of Anna Bollinger from Droga5 as planning director and Mervyn Tan from Autumn:01 as digital planning director.

DDB Sydney managing director for strategy and innovation Leif Stromnes said: “We are delighted to welcome Samuel to the team and back to the DDB Group. He has extensive experience in guiding great creative work with global clients and, in line with a number of new appointments in recent months, will be a great addition to DDB Sydney’s industry leading strategic team.”

Leo Burnett’s current head of planning Luke Atkinson is leaving the agency to pursue other opportunities outside of the advertising industry.

Todd  Sampson,  CEO  Leo  Burnett  Australia,  said:  “Our business is in constant beta-mode requiring ever-changing skills and smart people with enthusiasm. Both Russ and Emma bring with them the diverse skills and talents that our clients need or will need in the near future. They’re also really good people.”

Mitchinson has spent the last seven years at DDB Sydney, becoming planning partner in 2010. Prior to that he spent two years with Clemenger BBDO Sydney, and six years with WCRS in London as associate director for strategic planning. Last year he sat on the Cannes Lion Effectiveness jury.

Montgomery has more than 15-year’s experience in the industry, mostly with the Starcom Mediavest Group, across brands including Mars, Samsung and Suncorp Group. The role of head of connect will see her take charge of “merging and emerging disciplines in our business including digital, social, PR, data analytics and media” according to a statement from Leo Burnett.

At the end of last year Mitchinson did a hangout with Mumbrella on the APG’s trip to visit Google’s US offices. He is due to start at Leos on April 22.

Alex Hayes


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