McCann Sydney appoints Ben Coulson as chief creative officer

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 15 June 2020

McCann Sydney has appointed Ben Coulson as its new chief creative officer, replacing Darren Spiller who reportedly departed the agency at the end of last year.

Coulson joins the agency from Clemenger BBDO Sydney where he had been working in a similar role since 2017.

He says he has intrigued by McCann's "interesting" proposition at the moment following the group's acquisition by Ben Lilley.

“I was hit with a pang of jealousy when I heard about Ben Lilley’s acquisition and plans for McCann Australia a few months ago. He has a unique thing going on, building a fully independent agency backed by the hottest network in the world right now," Coulson says.

“Ben’s passion for the McCann brand, his 'creative first' approach to business, and the talented group of people he’s assembling is genuinely exciting, at a time when there isn’t much new news on the Australian agency landscape.

“McCann has a strong client base and brands that deserve standout work. Plus they're a very decent bunch of folk to go to work with every day. I’m very grateful to Ben, Pat (Baron) and the gang at McCann for the opportunity to be part of something with such positive momentum."

Coulson will lead the creative output across McCann Sydney’s clients, including Coca-Cola, MasterCard, Microsoft, Menulog, Nestlé, Sanofi and the government, and work with McCann national chief creative officer Pat Baron on key national creative clients and campaigns.

“Ben Coulson’s a great human who I’ve admired and respected for years and whose career and campaigns speak for themselves," Baron says.

"He has an extraordinary track record of creative excellence that’s been celebrated both globally and at home in Australia.

“An originator, deep thinker and innovator, it’s not surprising Ben is also one of Australia’s most popular creative leaders. His move to McCann Australia is good news for not just our clients but for our people too. We’ve still got a lot of work to do here, but I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Both Baron and Coulson have ranked in the top five ECDs in the world at Cannes and the Top 10 CCOs in the world on The Won Report.

Prior to his time at Clemenger BBDO, Coulson spent six years as regional CCO for Y&R Australia and New Zealand (now VMLY&R), seeing the agency named the most awarded ANZ network at Cannes and Spikes for three years running.

“Pat and Ben and I have all grown up together in adland and over the years we’ve often talked about one day working together; I couldn’t be happier that day has finally come," McCann creative chairman Ben Lilley says.

"Together Pat and Ben make a pretty exciting creative leadership team, with a formidable creative and effectiveness legacy between them. Anyone who knows them also knows they’re just really nice guys too.”

Lilley says McCann Sydney is still hiring, including account management and senior strategy roles, with further key announcements to be made over the coming weeks.

The agency recently appointed Caroline McLaughlin as senior business lead and Simon Gawn as client services director.

The hiring spree follows a series departures among McCann's leadership team including Spiller, Sydney managing director Hazelle Klønhammer, chief strategy officer Fran Clayton and Melbourne managing director Georgie Pownall shortly after Lilley assumed ownership of McCann Australia.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus