Special Group’s Matty Burton and Dave Bowman depart to join Google

Special Group has confirmed founding creative partners Matty Burton and Dave Bowman will depart the agency in August after three years to take on senior roles at Google.

The former Special Group team: Burton, Evans, Bowman and Heyde

The duo will lead the Google Zoo operation throughout the Asia Pacific region, however, they will remain shareholders of Special Group.

Burton and Bowman joined Special Group in September 2014 from TBWA where they were executive creative directors.

Burton told Mumbrella working with Google Zoo over the past three years had given the pair a rare insight into the company, so the opportunity was impossible to pass up even though it came with mixed feelings of the leaving Special Group.

“It’s a mixed feeling. We have been  lucky enough to work with Zoo on a few different clients and a few different projects,” Burton said.

“Our remit is to partner with agencies of all kinds and work with their brands. We want to put some fireworks into the works and show what can be done.”

Burton said the pair would remain on deck at the agency for the next four months as the recruitment for new creative leaders was underway.

CEO and founding partner Lindsey Evans confirmed a global hunt was already underway, but said she had no concerns it could be hampered by the announcement of changes to 457 visa laws by the Prime Minister yesterday.

“I think a lot of the global talent we are looking at would still fit into the new visa categories,” Evans told Mumbrella.

She said teams assembled by Burton and Bowman would also sustain the agency during the search.

In a statement she said the pair had played an important role in the success of Special Group, which services clients including Aussie Home Loans, Red Bull, King Living, Amaysim, Petbarn, Harris Farm Markets, Sandhurst Fine Foods, Fisher and Paykel, Haier, University of Newcastle and Guzman Y Gomez.

“Matty and Dave joined Special Group Australia just six months after launch and in less than three years have helped build a truly modern culture with killer talent, an enviable group of client partners and an offering that has seen our business gain five Agency of the Year awards. We are obviously absolutely gutted to see them go but very happy that they remain vested in our future success as shareholders,” Evans said.

Managing Partner Cade Heyde added: “We have been working with Google Zoo pretty much since we opened and we feel privileged to be able to continue to collaborate with the boys in their new roles.”

Dave Bowman: Really proud of Special Group

Bowman said in the statement: “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to be a part of here at Special Group. Our first three years in market have seen the company grow into an amazing group of talented, creative and passionate people whose drive and hunger has seen them really start to make a dent in our part of the world.

“But, when we were presented with the unique opportunity to work at Google, knowing we could collaborate with agencies across the region, it was simply impossible to refuse.”

Commenting on their new appointments at Google, Jo Flint, managing director, agency business at Google Asia Pacific said: “I am delighted to welcome best-in-class creatives Dave Bowman and Matty Burton to the Google Zoo team.

“The Zoo is Google’s creative think-tank for brands and agencies, using  our platforms and technologies to push the limits of creativity. Matty and Dave will co-lead the Zoo in the Asia Pacific and I know they will be a great fit for the team.

“We look forward to welcoming them both in August and seeing how they continue to delight clients with their creative excellence.”


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