John Preston (right in photo), CEO of Blue 449, has announced that James Simmons (left in photo) will be leaving the agency at the end of January 2018, while also revealing the promotion of Duncan Parfitt (middle of photo) as managing director of the Sydney agency.
Simmons, COO of Blue 449 (formerly Match Media), will remain with the agency until 31st January 2018, before returning to the UK.
Parfitt, who has been with the agency for seven years and is currently head of performance and analytics, will assume the newly created role of managing director of the Sydney office immediately. Preston will remain in place as the CEO of Blue 449 ensuring the continuity of the agency’s leadership.
In 2007 Simmons co-founded Match Dialogue with Preston before it merged with Match Integration (launched in 2003) to form Match Media, and so began their highly successful partnership. In June 2015, the Publicis Groupe acquired Match Media which in turn rebranded to Blue 449 in January this year.
Throughout Simmons’ 10-year tenure, the agency was the most consistently awarded media agency, having won numerous Agency of the Year and Culture Awards. In 2015 the agency was globally recognised by the Warc 100 in the top 20 best media agencies in the world.
Simmons added: “I feel very thankful to have experienced the last ten years at Match Media and then later Blue 449. Working in partnership with John has been an amazing journey and one that I am very proud of. However, it is time for a new chapter for my family and me so we have made the decision to return to England to enjoy the weather, but most importantly to be with our families – it feels like the right thing to do now.
“Leaving Blue 449 is difficult as it is an agency at the top of its game breaking new ground and forging a solid position in the market. We have an amazing team who are as dedicated and passionate about delivering results for our clients. I also want to thank Publicis Media who have been incredible to work with and this has allowed us to keep the brilliant culture and DNA of the agency that will continue to thrive,” he said.
Preston added: “Working with James over the past decade has been nothing short of a brilliant partnership. Together we have built a consistently strong business with amazing talent, creating work that works with our wonderful portfolio of clients. We’ve created a text book success story. Ten years is a long time to work together, yet it feels like the time has gone in a flash which is a sure sign that we enjoyed the journey together. On a personal note I want to thank James for his friendship, camaraderie and in synch approach to how we ran the business. The success of the agency and the management of our people and clients has always been at the heart of everything he does.”
“With every change a new opportunity is created and so I am delighted to announce Duncan’s promotion to MD. It is testament to the depth of talent in the agency that we can promote within. Duncan is a proven leader; during his several years at the agency he has created from scratch our Search offering, analytics team and performance team.
“Blue 449 sits at the ‘intersection of data and ideas’ and Duncan has a unique future focused skill set that will complement that position. I very much look forward to working with Duncan in his new role as MD, along with the talented group in the leadership team, ensuring that the continuity and integrity of our business is maintained and together we drive Blue 449 forward into 2018,” Preston said.
Gerry Boyle, chairman Publicis Media Asia Pacific said: “I would like to thank James for his amazing contribution to the success of Blue 449 in Australia, he leaves a platform that is well set for the future. I welcome Duncan into his new position and have no doubt that he, together with John and the leadership team, will build an even stronger position for Blue 449 in Australia. We wish both James and Duncan all the very best in these new endeavours.”
Parfitt added: “I am extremely passionate about this business and so I am delighted about taking on a broader leadership position within the agency. Blue 449 is in an exciting space at the moment with progressive clients investing in great work around data and ideas. My role will be to build on this and within a modern and evolving marketing ecosystem identify opportunities to further drive our clients’ business success.”