Steve Coll leaves Havas for Droga5

By AdNews | 28 March 2014

Havas has lost its top creative, Steve Coll, to Droga5.

The agency had been rumoured to be sounding out top creatives for some time. Coll's appointment ends speculation about who would come in to add firepower following the departure of former senior creative director Cam Blackley, who left Droga5 in January after eight years with the firm to join BMF.

Losing Coll, whose list of awards includes a Cannes Grand Prix is a major blow for Havas, broadly seen to be in the ascendency after a string of innovative, socially-driven campaigns and some big client wins.

It is not yet clear who will replace Coll at Havas, which could not be reached for comment.

The news is timed perfectly for Droga5, which this week lost the Woolworths account to Leo Burnett without a pitch. The agency remains on the roster and it is possible it may yet do some project work for the retailer - and it is understood creative chairman David Nobay remains in the frame to appear on the forthcoming season of the Woolworth's funded Recipe to Riches programme on Channel Ten. However, it is not yet clear who from Woolworths will appear with him.

Coll will work under Nobay, but not Duncan Marshall, who will work more closely with William Morris Endeavour, the US firm that acquired a 49% stake in Droga5 in July.

Updated: Havas Worldwide Australia CEO Anthony Gregorio has issued a statement on Coll's departure.

The whole of Havas wishes Steve well in his new role.  He’s a very talented guy and he will be missed.  But, as you know in this industry, people come and go all the time, and that’s life.

Whilst Steve has been a big part of our renaissance, our mantra has always been based around team effort, and our success has been achieved through the group working closely together to deliver the very best for our clients.

We have a hugely talented creative department, including some of the brightest young stars out there, and have a proven track record in winning major awards (including Campaign Brief NSW Agency of the Year), and are reaping commercial success.

Havas Worldwide is a very attractive proposition right now and we are already getting interest from some of the best creative talent in the market.  Havas is constantly looking to evolve, develop and improve and deliver disruptive and memorable work.  We will be looking for an ECD that can continue with us on this path and slip straight into a strong team that is kicking goals.

Droga5 has now also issued a press release:


Droga5 has lured one of Australia’s most dynamic and awarded creative directors, Steve Coll, to take the helm of its Sydney agency as part of a restructure that will also see founding creative partner and Executive Creative Director Duncan Marshall taking on a regional role working across Droga5 partners William Morris Endeavor and IMG.
Coll, who won the inaugural Cannes Effectiveness Lion with AMV BBDO in London for Walkers Crisps, has been a driving force behind the resurgence of Havas in Australia after joining in 2010, with the agency winning 11 Lions under his guidance.
David Nobay, Creative Chairman and one of the founders of Droga5 Sydney, said that with Marshall’s elevation to a regional role it was vital the agency found the right partner for the next stage of its evolution in the role of Executive Creative Director.
"Duncan doesn't leave an easy seat to fill, but in Steve, we've found someone who's proved a steely ambition to push innovation over the finish line, tied to a naturally infectious curiosity that makes him a natural fit for our management line-up,” Nobay said.
“I couldn't be more excited at the possibilities his arrival means for our clients' brands.”
Droga5 founder David Droga said: “Steve is one of the precious few creative leaders our global industry craves. As inspiring for his creative abilities, as he is for business sensibilities.
“Right person, right time, right place.”
While Coll said leaving Havas was a difficult decision, the unique philosophy and energy of Droga5 was impossible to turn down.
“There’s no question this is the most exciting time to work in this business, and there are few more exciting companies than Droga5,” Coll said.
“As I’ve demonstrated at Havas, I believe the greatest value for clients comes from ideas that live beyond advertising in the news feed and news media. For example, ‘Fair Go Bro’ for Virgin Mobile, Durex ‘Fundawear’, ‘Kill or Save Louie the Fly’, or The Most Powerful Arm.
“In the next five years digital, data and tech will change our business completely. I know from talking to David and Nobby, Droga5 is a company that relishes those challenges and seizes the opportunities. That’s why it’s been recognised as one of the most innovative companies in the world. And with WME and IMG as partners, I believe Droga5 has the ability to offer clients such as Qantas, Telstra, ING Direct, Woolworths and BBC a unique advantage.”
“Naturally, I am sad to be leaving Havas. I’ve had the privilege of working with some wonderful people and fantastic clients over the last three and a half years. I’ve also enjoyed being part of a big turn around.” L2, 4-16 Yurong Street, East Sydney, NSW 2010
Droga said the executive changes would allow Marshall to take on a broader role across Droga5, WME and IMG, and capitalise on the opportunities created by the headline making alliance forged last year.

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MARCH 28, 2014: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Droga5 has lured one of Australia’s most dynamic and awarded creative directors, Steve Coll, to take the helm of its Sydney agency as part of a restructure that will also see founding creative partner and Executive Creative Director Duncan Marshall taking on a regional role working across Droga5 partners William Morris Endeavor and IMG.

Coll, who won the inaugural Cannes Effectiveness Lion with AMV BBDO in London for Walkers Crisps, has been a driving force behind the resurgence of Havas in Australia after joining in 2010, with the agency winning 11 Lions under his guidance.

David Nobay, Creative Chairman and one of the founders of Droga5 Sydney, said that with Marshall’s elevation to a regional role it was vital the agency found the right partner for the next stage of its evolution in the role of Executive Creative Director.

"Duncan doesn't leave an easy seat to fill, but in Steve, we've found someone who's proved a steely ambition to push innovation over the finish line, tied to a naturally infectious curiosity that makes him a natural fit for our management line-up,” Nobay said.

I couldn't be more excited at the possibilities his arrival means for our clients' brands.”

Droga5 founder David Droga said: “Steve is one of the precious few creative leaders our global industry craves. As inspiring for his creative abilities, as he is for business sensibilities.

Right person, right time, right place.”

While Coll said leaving Havas was a difficult decision, the unique philosophy and energy of Droga5 was impossible to turn down.

There’s no question this is the most exciting time to work in this business, and there are few more exciting companies than Droga5,” Coll said.

As I’ve demonstrated at Havas, I believe the greatest value for clients comes from ideas that live beyond advertising in the news feed and news media. For example, ‘Fair Go Bro’ for Virgin Mobile, Durex ‘Fundawear’, ‘Kill or Save Louie the Fly’, or The Most Powerful Arm.

In the next five years digital, data and tech will change our business completely. I know from talking to David and Nobby, Droga5 is a company that relishes those challenges and seizes the opportunities. That’s why it’s been recognised as one of the most innovative companies in the world. And with WME and IMG as partners, I believe Droga5 has the ability to offer clients such as Qantas, Telstra, ING Direct, Woolworths and BBC a unique advantage.”

Naturally, I am sad to be leaving Havas. I’ve had the privilege of working with some wonderful people and fantastic clients over the last three and a half years. I’ve also enjoyed being part of a big turn around.” L2, 4-16 Yurong Street, East Sydney, NSW 2010

Droga said the executive changes would allow Marshall to take on a broader role across Droga5, WME and IMG, and capitalise on the opportunities created by the headline making alliance forged last year.

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