M&C Saatchi promotes Emma Robbins to national ECD role; Mandie van der Merwe and Avish Gordhan depart agency after nearly four years
M&C Saatchi Group has today announced the promotion of Emma Robbins to national executive creative director, M&C Saatchi Australia. Robbins (above left) will partner with Cam Blackley (right), chief creative officer M&C Saatchi Group AUNZ to build a tighter, more connected, creative leadership across Australia’s largest independent creative company following significant business growth.
Concurrently Mandie van der Merwe (below right) and Avish Gordhan (below left), have announced their imminent departure from the business after nearly four years as joint executive creative directors at M&C Saatchi Sydney.
Robbins’ elevation to national executive creative director, and partnership with Blackley, has been designed to create broader opportunities for creative solutions across the Australian network, as the ecosystems and ambitions of their client partners diversify.
Robbins stellar career and leadership has seen her secure a number of new wins for M&C Saatchi Melbourne including Victorian State Government, Origin and WorkSafe. Over the last six months Robbins has naturally risen to a national role through connecting and leading creative teams on both client and new business projects across both creative hubs.
Says Blackley: “Four years ago I said Emma was the only name on the list when looking at the creative leadership of M&C Saatchi Melbourne. Since then she has helped transform our business there and built a culture of creative ambition. The interoperability we’ve created between Sydney and Melbourne puts us in an enviable position to be more agile with the shape of the squads we aim at problems. With Emma’s promotion it also opens the door to change our shape even further, to connect more strongly into all the arms of our business and I’m looking forward to further announcements that will bring a new dimension to our creative offering.”
Says Robbins: “There’s so much talent across M&C Saatchi in this market. The chance for us to kick down some state walls and bring those talented minds together to solve client problems, wherever that client is based, is really exciting. If the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that location doesn’t matter. What matters is rolling as one, and creating work that makes a difference. It’s exciting, and a big opportunity to work in new ways.”
Robbins has been executive creative director with M&C Saatchi Melbourne for four years, joining after four years as creative partner at behaviour change specialists The Shannon Company creating work for Worksafe Occupational Violence, Australian Super and Family Violence Victoria, and 12 years at Clemenger BBDO leading work for NAB, Libra, TAC, Bupa and Pure Blonde.
Where van der Merwe and Gordhan are headed is yet to be revealed.
Says Blackley: “Mandie and Avish are natural leaders, I’ve seen them grow from CD to ECD and now their biggest role yet in a short period of time. We’ve done great work and fought in the trenches together through bushfires and biohazards; we’ll always share that bond. I wish them all the best for the new gig and will be sending them a bottle of whiskey on day one.”
van der Merwe and Gordhan joined M&C Saatchi Group in 2019 as joint-executive creative directors. Prior to M&C Saatchi the pair were previously creative directors at Cummins&Partners Sydney and before that senior creatives at TBWA\Sydney. They have previously held roles at The Jupiter Drawing Room, DraftFCB Cape Town, TBWA/Hunt Lascaris, Fortune Promoseven Bahrain and Black River FC.
Cam Blackley has advanced the careers of many creative women.
Congratulations and well deserved, Emma!!
And all the best for the next gig M&A!
Well done to all involved. Happy Monday News! Wonder where A&V are going…..
Congratulations and all that
M&C used to be the brand building powerhouse. Now the brand is a dull, stock image shadow of itself, Tourism Australia is offloading work to CHEP and TAB is cheap retail. When they stop building in house agencies and lose their design house, maybe the work will improve. No wonder they’re shuffling the senior ranks again.
Haven’t done anything spectacular in a really long time. Hope that changes
Big congrats to Emma, well deserved. She’s exceptional.
Emma Robbins is an incredible leader. Kind, collaborative, unwavering. Emma has earned her career alongside the best our industry has produced. There’s no ego, just an enormous energy to have a positive impact. She has helped build a business and an agency culture at M&C Saatchi Melbourne unlike any other.
Those who work with her know what a gift she is.
An incredible leader being recognised and elevated for it – well done Em and M&C
What are you referring to?
Awesome news! Em’s a legend. Luckily she has always kept it real, and would never say words like ‘interoperability’. Ha ha. Love the words big network agencies use these days.
I promised to slip it in somewhere, was tricky.
Best of luck Emma. Fully deserving of the recognition.
Only big brand client in Melbourne was Lexus.
Avish and mandi are off to rejoin Tom and Jules powerful stuff
M&A off to one of the Special Groups, just wait for it.
Won’t be surprised if they turn up at Clems. Great news either way for everyone.
Great move. Great Human.
Off to the TAB.