B&T’s Best Of The Best List Of Executive Leaders (Creative), Presented By Finecast, Part Of GroupM Nexus

B&T’s Best Of The Best List Of Executive Leaders (Creative), Presented By Finecast, Part Of GroupM Nexus

The creative industry is the place where creative geniuses come to play, where even the most bizarre and strange idea can find itself transformed into a multi-million dollar campaign. 

The entire industry would not exist, however, if it were not for shrewd and sharp executive leaders carefully guiding everyone to profitability and success. 

So without further ado, here are our top ten executive leaders for creative! Please children, no fighting!

1.Mark Green – President ANZ – Accenture Song 

Green doesn’t need an introduction but we’re going to do so anyway because otherwise, this would be a short article. Back in 2006, Green had a dream – a dream to create the most provocative agency in the country. The Monkeys was born. 

Since then, The Monkeys has grown from three founders to over 170 employees working with the country’s most revered clients.

So attractive was the business prospect of The Monkeys that it caught the eye of a global consultancy firm Accenture. Accenture Song bought The Monkeys in 2017 and made Green its leader. 

Green’s star continues to rise and he has worked with endless brands and campaigns including IKEA, Telstra, Qantas, Parmalat, Bingle, Toyota, Fox Sports, FOXTEL, Gillette, UBank, United Nations, Blackmores, University of Sydney, Nike, Pacific Brands, Meat & Livestock Australia and Sydney Opera House.

2. Lee Leggett – CEO – CHEP Network 

Described by one LinkedIn connection as a  “visionary captain of any ship” Leggett is someone who seems to have the Midas touch. 

After beginning her career in London, Leggett moved to Australia with her family in 2013 and took up the role of CEO at IPG’s Initiative. 

She later went on to join Wunderman Thompson in 2020 as CEO of Australia, before being promoted to the chief growth officer of APAC. In April this year, she took up the revered position of CEO of the CHEP Network. 

Not content with transforming ad land, Leggett is also a senior adviser to the United Nations Development Programme for her continuing on The Lions Share Fund.

3.Kirsty Muddle – CEO Dentsu Creative 

In a world where we are all asked to choose between data and creativity, Muddle is one of the rare leaders who combine both. 

She started her career in Econometrics at a WPP agency in London and still maintains her love for the interplay between humans and data. 

Currently CEO of Dentsu Creative, in Australia & New Zealand, she helps transforms businesses and brands through the power of creativity and (we’re sure) data too.

Prior to joining Dentsu Creative she was founding partner and CEO of cummins&partners. 

Outside of her day job, Muddle keeps busy. She sits on the Board of the Australian council of Advertising (ACA) and Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) and also appears on  ABC’s Gruen.

4.Michael Rebelo, CEO Publicis Groupe Australia & NZ

Rebelo is very much a global executive. He is currently CEO of Publicis Groupe Australia & NZ, a behemoth that owns brands such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Starcom, Zenithmedia, Publicis Sapient, Digitas, HerdMSL, Spark Foundry, Razorfish and Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, and Publicis WW.

A pioneer for all Aussies, he was the first Australian to be named managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi London, the ‘spiritual HQ’ of the global network. 

Over his impressive 20-year-plus career, Rebelo has focused on re-building, re-purposing, starting-up and buying agencies so they can use creativity to help brands flourish. 

We’re lucky to have him back on Aussie shores at last!

5.Chris Howatson, Founder and CEO of Howatson + Company 

Howatson’s success at such a young age should make him unlikeable, but his charisma, positivity, and drive make it very hard to do that. 

During his 8 years as Group CEO of CHE Proximity Australia, he won a string of prestigious accolades including WARC’s most creative agency in Australia (2019), WARC’s 3rd most effective agency in the world (2020). 

He also won  Contagious’ top 10 best and bravest agencies on the planet four years in a row!

After running out of room on the CHE Proximity trophy shelf, Howatson set up his own business – Howatson+Company. 

Since its launch, Howatson+Company has won a  number of awards including Global Independent Agency of the Year at the D&AD Awards. It looks like Howatson will be on the lookout for more trophy space soon. 

6.Margie Reid, CEO of Thinkerbell 

With more than 23 years of industry experience, 18 of those in media, Reid has developed a reputation as one of the most trusted, and professional operators within the media and advertising landscape. She is also renowned for her exceptional client focus underpinned by transparency and accountability.

Joining the company as an equity partner in early 2018 with a focus to help create a new agency model, Reid has led Thinkerbell from start-up to grown-up in five short years.

She has tripled the size of the agency during her tenure, despite the complexities of operating a business during Covid; managed over 120 staff and is a business partner across two other business in Decade of Action (DOA) and SPACE.

7.Dani Bassil, CEO of Clemenger BBDO Australia

Another traveler who has returned to Aussie shores, Bassil is someone who has made huge waves, not just in Australia, but in the UK too. 

She has spent almost 20 years in the United Kingdom, most recently as CEO of one of the country’s largest and most successful agencies, Digitas UK, where she implemented a complete strategic reorganisation of the agency, driving business success, creativity, and a highly collaborative culture.

When she joined Clemenger in January, Clemenger Group CEO Les Timar said: “Dani is the perfect fit for this new role and her appointment is a coup for our Group. Her track record in seamlessly connecting data, media, creativity and technology was exactly what we were seeking in the next leader of Clemenger BBDO.”

8.Lindsey Evans, CEO and Founding Partner, Special Group

B&T is still replenishing its trophy stock from 2022, when Evans took home a staggering ten B&T Awards including Advertising Agency of the Year, Best Ad Campaign, Best TV Campaign, and B&T Agency of the Year. 

Whilst obviously B&T awards are the most prestigious in the world and all others pale in comparison, Special Group has also won a series of other awards including 2019 AdNews Independent Agency of the Year, 2019 Spikes Asia Independent Agency of the Year and 2018 Mumbrella Independent Agency of the Year. 

If you’ve just noticed you are a bit low on accolades, you can listen to Evan’s advice on winning awards HERE

9.Damian Pincus,  Creative Partner, Founder, The works 

Pincus is a serial entrepreneur who has spent 20 years in the advertising/communications industry and has run businesses in the UK, Singapore and Sydney.

Prior to launching  The Works, Pincus has held senior creative positions at global agencies TBWA, JWT and Batey. He has worked across brands including  Cadbury, Canon, Heineken, Kelloggs, Nestle, Tiger Beer, Skoda, Jim Beam, Canadian Club.

He has won awards from D&AD, Cannes, NY Festivals, Award, Kinsale, ADMA, Global Effies, Grand Effie, and gold, silver and bronze Effies.

The Works continues to be recognised as a leader in the creative field. 

10. Rose Herceg, President, Australia and New Zealand at WPP

Prior to becoming President of WPP in Australia and New Zealand, Rose was chief strategy officer of WPP AUNZ. She led client-facing activity and delivered communications, experience, commerce and technology across the company’s network of agencies.

Herceg was also the founder of Pophouse, one of Australia’s leading agencies for innovation, social trends, and business strategy, which she sold to STW Group in 2007. She joined STW as a strategic consultant and became chief strategy officer of WPP AUNZ following the WPP merger with STW in 2016.

She has a reputation as one of the most respected people in the industry and has also authored three books on business leadership. 

If you’ve enjoyed this article (why wouldn’t you) you may be interested in seeing our list for the top ten media agency bosses HERE.




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