Top talent shake-out rumbles on, but where are the CEO jobs?

AdNews editor Pippa Chambers
By AdNews editor Pippa Chambers | 4 March 2019

This Editor's Letter first appeared in the AdNews March 2019 magazine. Support AdNews by subscribing here.

I recall an early opinion piece at AdNews back in 2015 entitled ‘my first adland whirlwind’, detailing my positive experience after one year in as digital editor predominantly covering media agencies and ad tech. How back then, to me, a ‘tarp’ was something we’d squirt washing up liquid on and slide down in the back garden on a hot summer’s day; Bass, Sparrow and The Monkeys were animals, and a big pitch was something I’d most likely say in relation to a weekend away camping.

The buzz, the people, the pitches, the job hopping, the innovation had pulled me in hook, line and sinker. The rate of change, especially within programmatic, was consuming. I was mistaken to think that was a first year’s learning observation only, as fast-forward nearly five years on and nothing has slowed down since that frenetic first year. In fact, in 2019 it feels as though everything has dramatically sped up threefold, to perhaps an alarming rate.

While business consolidation (WPP) and diversification (Dentsu Aegis Network) attempts are just two examples of major networks making sizeable landscape-changing moves, pay freezes are creeping in at agencies, and the big talk in town is now firmly around the abundance of deeply experienced adland execs left without top jobs.

Mike Connaghan, James Warburton, John Sintras, Anthony Fitzgerald, Tony Kendall, Mike Tyquin, Danny Bass - and now Dan Hill - the list on the wall by the AdNews newsdesk of top execs out of work, mostly CEOs, is getting longer and longer. But where are the jobs?

Especially when CEO roles are being scrapped and then filled by MDs and CEOs are now taking sales jobs and commercial MD roles.

Aside from Henry Tajer’s “I’m back” move and ex-Carat CEO Paul Brooks’ surprising shift into a sales director role at Nine, numerous others are still yet to be placed. AdNews is also aware of top brass expats beginning to shift their job searches back to the motherland – London.

We’re watching and waiting but there’s an uneasy feel already about 2019 when it comes to talent and the rate of change, certainly within jobs, that shows no sign of slowing down.

AdNews March 2019

On the theme of change, our investigation this issue looks at exactly that; the fascinating evolution of women in advertising in one of Australia’s leading magazines.

An editorially-inspired data-driven idea, working with LIDA Australia and its robot, which scanned more than 20,000 adverts in Women’s Weekly, we looked at the progression and portrait of women in advertising between 1933 to current day.

The investigation, in light of International Women’s Day, took six months and unearthed some highly engrossing findings. Naturally, this meant there was no better fit than LIDA to create the front cover – which shows it all – from servitude to self-determination.

This issue we also revisit some of the top execs driving real change throughout the industry. From Times Up Advertising to Free the Bid and The Agency Circle, it’s vital people know about some of the great work going on in our industry. 

A special thanks to Lida's Jake Lyme, M&C Saatchi’s Sally Walker & AdNews associate publisher Nicola Riches for making the research project a reality.


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