Saatchi & Saatchi Australia snares Mandie van der Merwe and Avish Gordhan from Dentsu Creative for joint Chief Creative Officer roles

Saatchi & Saatchi Australia snares Mandie van der Merwe and Avish Gordhan from Dentsu Creative for joint Chief Creative Officer roles

Saatchi & Saatchi Australia has lured Mandie van der Merwe and Avish Gordhan, the multi-award winning creative duo, from Dentsu Creative, as the agency’s new joint Chief Creative Officers. The pair depart from the joint CCO roles at Dentsu Creative after a one year stint


Gordhan and van der Merwe (above right), who have been creative partners for 20 years, have honed their craft across three continents, with their work recognised over 300 times at the biggest award shows in the industry, including D&AD, Cannes Lions, The One Show, Clio and Spikes.

Says Dave Bowman (above left), Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Groupe ANZ: “I am beyond excited to be able to bring Mandie and Avish onboard to lead Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative offering. With their unique people skills, strategic prowess, and creative firepower, I can’t wait to see what these two amazingly talented new-world creatives make possible at the intersection of storytelling, data, technology and media.”

Says Patrick Rowe (above, second from left), CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Australia: “Dave and I wanted to double down on creativity at Saatchi & Saatchi, so approaching Mandie and Avish just made sense. Why get one Chief Creative Officer when you can get two with an awards list as long as your arm? More importantly, they understand the role creative thinking plays in a new integrated world and will be a driving force for change. We couldn’t be more excited that they’re joining our team.”

Gordhan and van der Merwe have made a name for themselves, establishing environments where creativity doesn’t merely tap into culture but sparks it.

Speaking on her new role, van der Merwe said: “When Saatchi & Saatchi come knocking, you answer. And when the person knocking is Dave Bowman, you take out the fancy biscuits. Between Pat and the team, there is an infectious passion for creativity that is hard to ignore.”

Adds Gordhan: “This is an agency brand with a storied history and incredible work, locally and globally. The opportunity to be part of that is both humbling and exciting. We love bringing ideas and storytelling together in new ways with media, tech and data. And it makes me itchy with anticipation thinking about how we can do that with this team.”

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.

The team have worked on iconic campaigns such as Tourism Australia’s ‘MateSong’ (at M&C Saatchi) and Go Gentle Australia’s ‘Stop the Horror’ (at Cummins & Partners).

They have also played key roles benefiting the broader industry, with van Der Merwe serving two terms as national head of AWARD School helping to guide the next wave of creative talent in Australia, while Gordhan is one of the founders of #OnlyOneInTheRoom, launched to achieve more culturally diverse and inclusive advertising industry. Van der Merwe was the recipient of AdNews’ ‘Emerging Leader of the Year’, the B&T ‘Women in Media’ (Creative) Award and the B&T’s ‘Best of the Best Award’ in 2021.