Alex Carr departs BWM Dentsu for managing partner role at Bastion Banjo; Andrew Varasdi takes chairman role
Former BMF Dentsu managing director Alex Carr is joining Bastion Banjo in the role of managing partner. After 12 years of successful growth, Andrew Varasdi, one of Banjo’s founders and its managing partner, will transition into a new role of executive chairman of Bastion Banjo. In this role he will maintain a strategic relationship with existing clients and support Banjo’s new managing partner, Alex Carr and existing partner, Ben Lyttle, co-founder of Banjo, in driving the future direction of the agency.
Carr most recently ran BWM Dentsu where he helped drive the creative reputation and subsequent growth of the agency. In his tenure, BWM Dentsu won a number of new clients including Qantas and American Express plus a number of prestigious creative and effectiveness awards including Grand Prix at Cannes and a rare Black Pencil at D&AD.
Says Carr: “I am so delighted to join the team at this fiercely independent agency. Vara, Ben and the team have shaped a very special business that quietly punches well above its weight. Their grown-up approach to brand strategy, branding and a variety of communication disciplines in order to drive the best outcomes for their clients was a massive draw card. They have never wavered from their original mission of creating long term brand stories that sell. Another huge selling point was working for a collective not a network. Bastion Collective is one of the best kept secrets in the agency world. I look forward to more people discovering a business with no competing disciplines, where the sole purpose is not shareholder value but to find ingenious solutions to clients’ problems. How bloody refreshing.”
Says Varasdi: “As part of the agencies re-structure Alex’s appointment in a partnership role along with other significant investments into the digital space will ensure a strong continuity of leadership for this next phase of growth for the agency.”
Varasdi says of his new role: “For over 30 years, I have had the privilege of working with some of the industry’s most talented people and to work on Australia’s most iconic brands. But starting and building Banjo has been one of my proudest achievements. As we look to the future, having Alex come on board to help Ben and I run the business is key to our ongoing success. I am looking forward to this next stage of my career – working with our clients and people in this new role will be hugely fun and rewarding.”
Says Ben Lyttle, founder and planning partner of Banjo: “There is no better ad person than Andrew – he is the very best I have ever worked with. And we’ve been through it all – many thought starting an ad agency with no clients in the middle of the GFC was madness … I guess we knew what we were doing. We knew there would come a time where Andrew would be less hands on. Having him with me and our team in this role is going to be fantastic. And having the caliber of a leader in Alex come on board is perfect for the future we have planned.”
Says Jack Watts, global CEO of Bastion Collective: “Bastion Banjo joined Bastion Collective almost two years ago to the day. Since that time, we’ve grown considerably to form the largest independent communications agency in Australia. We are thrilled to have Alex join Ben, Andrew and the rest of the Banjo leadership team. The Bastion Banjo business is in incredible shape and it’s great to see another experienced campaigner in Alex sign up to our mission to create the great Australian agency.”