UM solidifies leadership team with two new managing directors

Mediabrands agency, UM has promoted Gareth Nicholls to managing director in both Melbourne and Brisbane, while Brett Elliott has also been promoted from GM to MD of UM Canberra and Government.

This coincides with Ben McCallum’s appointment as Sydney MD, moving across officially from MediaCom last month, establishing a new UM national executive leadership team under CEO, Anathea Ruys.

L-R: Brett Elliott, Anathea Ruys, Ben McCallum, Gareth Nicholls

The agency said that the elevated roles come in response to recent growth, and “is designed to ensure each market leader is able to reflect UM’s commitment to provide deep strategic counsel and partnership to clients”

Ruys said: “We are in the business of investment – we work with our clients to invest in futureproofing their businesses and we invest in our people, ensuring that everything we do is based on delivering dividends for them: in their wellbeing; their careers; and their growth. I’m so thrilled Gareth and Brett are taking on these new responsibilities to help drive the future growth of UM Australia.

“Since Brett and Gareth joined UM, their strategic leadership, passion for people, collaborative leadership styles and in-depth experience in building teams that deliver to clients’ needs has been nothing short of outstanding. Their promotions are wholeheartedly well-deserved and will help accelerate the growth of UM in Australia,” she continued.

Ruys said both have built reputations for themselves as “two of the most passionate and influential leaders in the business” and that their teams, clients and her all have “enormous respect and admiration for them both and I am very confident they will continue to have a positive impact on UM”.

Elliot said: “It’s such an exciting time to be in the media industry, especially working on Government business as we navigate through the fast-changing landscape of an election year. I have an enviable team of talented people with a thirst to succeed and thrive, and together we look forward to building the momentum of Canberra’s office and securing our place as the leading media agency in the market.”

Elliot and his team in Canberra was reappointed to the Federal Government master media account last year for a further three years. UM was appointed to the account initially in 2018, after also holding it between 2002 to 2014.

On Nicholls’ promotion from GM in Melbourne, he said: “In such a fast moving and evolving market, holding onto the best talent is the key indicator that your agency culture is strong. Taking on this new role is incredibly exciting as it allows me to continue to grow our client relationships, drive new business growth and most importantly foster the great talent pool that we have in UM. All critical factors in ensuring the agency’s success.”

The Melbourne office did not previously have a MD, with Ruys saying in November that the appointment of a MD was warranted in Sydney by the scale of its clients in the market, and “an increased seniority in the role that leads the Sydney office and offering”

Both will report directly to Ruys and take on their new roles immediately.

Despite losing the Coca-Cola account at the end of 2021 in a global move, the agency retained its Federal Government, Tourism Australia, and Menulog accounts.


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