Ex-Wunderman Thompson MD Michael Godwin joins Bastion Banjo Melbourne as CEO

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Ex-Wunderman Thompson MD Michael Godwin joins Bastion Banjo Melbourne as CEO

Independent Australian communications agency group, Bastion Collective has announced the appointment of Michael Godwin to the role of CEO of its creative agency Bastion Banjo in Melbourne.


Godwin joins from JWT/Wunderman Thompson where he was managing director for the past ten years. Godwin has almost three decades of experience gained in Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and London. He worked for a decade with DDB across their Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne offices, in agency management roles and leading client relationships including McDonald’s, Coles and ANZ Bank.

More recently at JWT/Wunderman Thompson Melbourne, Godwin was instrumental in transforming the business, winning some of the market’s biggest pitches, building an unrivalled retail sector proposition, introducing multiple new disciplines, and growing the business fourfold during his tenure.

Bastion Banjo was originally founded in Sydney by strategy director Ben Lyttle and now executive chairman Andrew Varasdi and was acquired by Bastion Collective back in October 2018. It is headed up in Sydney by CEO Alex Carr, previously managing director at BWM Dentsu.

In Godwin’s new role as CEO of Bastion Banjo, Melbourne, he is charged with building a creative agency offering to help complement the existing Bastion proposition in its Melbourne campus.

Says Godwin: “In my years of working in this industry across different agency models, I’ve found that it’s human nature for specialists, those who are absolute experts in their chosen discipline, to want to immerse themselves in a community of fellow like-minded practitioners. This means that for a client, the upside of engaging the focused expertise of a specialist is often countered by having to assemble a roster of specialist agencies to meet their suite of needs.

“The Bastion Collective model represents a way of delivering the upside without the downside. It’s an integrated community of best-in-class specialist businesses, each run by industry leading practitioners, all housed within a single campus, under a single brand, delivering to a single P&L working within integrated teams, tailored to a particular client’s needs.

“This means that Bastion Collective is able to retain the specialised integrity of each business unit, whilst delivering the efficiency and seamlessness of multi-discipline client teams.

“On my journey getting to know Bastion and its people, two things have really stood out. Firstly, the sheer quality of the practitioners residing across the group. And secondly, the spirit of collaboration that exists across the business units, which clearly sits very much at the heart of how Bastion operates and is manifested in its customised, integrated client teams.

“I couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity to build a creative agency business within this community – helping attract new clients to the group, as well as offering existing clients with access to best-in-class communications strategy and creative ideation.”

Says Jack Watts, CEO, Bastion Collective: “Bringing the strategic and creative expertise of Banjo into the Collective, almost 3 years ago now, has been a game changer for our business. We are thrilled to now expand that into our Melbourne heartland. We looked for a long time for the right person to build that around, and Mike Godwin is far and away one of the absolute stand outs in creative agency leadership in Melbourne. We are delighted to add another true expert of Mike’s calibre to the rest of our 100 strong team at Cremorne St.”

Says Lyttle: “As soon as I met Mike, it was clear he was perfect for the role. Beyond his exceptional experience, he fits our culture and for me, culture has always been the critical part to effective work and delivering consistent growth for some 13 years. It’s going to be a lot of fun to work with him and help him realise the aspirations Bastion has for the agency in Melbourne.”

Bastion Banjo’s clients in Sydney include NSW Government, AMP, Real Pet Foods Company, Alinta Energy, Ben & Jerry’s, Greyhound Racing NSW, and Clubs NSW.

This appointment comes as Bastion Collective recently announced the significant growth of its US arm, based on the West Coast, with further acquisitions as it recently added website, mobile application development and digital marketing services and new senior hires last month.