Kate Smither takes the reins of CommBank's strategy at M&C

By Candide McDonald | 3 September 2014

M&C Saatchi Sydney has been amping up its top tier talent list with the addition of group innovation director, Ben Cooper, from The Monkeys, group operations director, Amir Mireskandari, from Leo Burnett and chief strategy officer, Justin Graham from Droga5.

Now it has lured Kate Smither, who will leave her job as global planning partner at Ogilvy & Mather to become M&C’s group strategy director.

She will report directly to Justin Graham and chief executive officer, Jaimes Leggett, and her main focus will be leading the strategic direction of CommBank, one of M&C’s major clients. She will work with banking specialist, Mim Haysom, who was made managing partner on the Commonwealth Bank business in May.

Smither’s reputation as a planner to watch was strengthened by her work on the Cannes Titanium Grand Prix-winning Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’, the most effective campaign on the globe last year. Dove ‘Camera Shy’ wasanother of Smither’s campaigns that stood on the podium at Cannes.

Before Ogilvy & Mather, Smither was head of planning at George Patterson Y&R where she was a key figure in Schweppes ‘Burst’ and Cadbury Picnic’s ‘It’s No Picnic’, both of which won award accolades.

Smither’s work has won virtually every effectiveness award in the past four years. She has won several Lions, four Effies, one IPA, two Jay Chiats and an Account Planning Group gong.

Justin Graham said of Smither, “M&C Saatchi has built some of the biggest brand platforms in Australia. Leveraging those to touch consumers in memorable and innovative ways are things Kate does better than anyone. She is truly world class and I look forward to learning a great deal from her.”

Smither said the opportunity, “to work for one of the world’s great agency brands on some iconic Australian businesses was one I didn’t have to think too hard about. There’s a real air of excitement around this agency. They're doing some really interesting things and it's a great time to be part of the team."

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