The creative department of Host/Havas, Australia’s most awarded creative agency and the #7 most awarded creative agency in the world according to the just released Big Won rankings, has not been resting on its laurels since The Palau Pledge. Far from it. CCO Darren Spiller resigned in August last year. Co-ECDs, Seamus Higgins and Ant Melder, are leaving.
ECD, Jon Austin, once one of three, becomes the sole creative leader at the agency. He will oversee the creative output across the agency, with a growing focus on the intersection of entertainment, innovation and advertising.
Austin joined the agency in July 2013 and became ECD in November 2017. Over his past six years with the agency, Austin has led a series of major campaigns, including the development of Air New Zealand’s Summer Wonderland, A Very Merry Mistake and ‘Losers’ Paradise, which aired at the Super Bowl.
Austin commented, “I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead. Not just because we have an incredible stable of collaborative and adventurous clients, but because I find myself surrounded by some of Australia’s most formidable creative talent, sharpest strategic minds and most inspiring leadership. Host/Havas is one hell of a family, with one hell of a future. I’m grateful for the continued opportunity to help chart its course.”
Laura Aldington, chief executive officer, Host/Havas, added, “Jon has proven himself to be an exceptional creative leader and is responsible for some of our most popular work over the last six years, as well as the vast majority of our new business success. We are incredibly excited to be opening the next creative chapter for the agency under his watchful and very talented eye.”
Higgins leaves the agency after more than five and a half years to pursue an exciting new opportunity with a haul of awards in his backpack. Melder departs after nearly two. Their leadership on Defence Force Recruiting (DFR) helped result in the 2018 Grand Effie for Long-Term Effectiveness.
Aldington added, “Seamus has made an indelible mark on Host/Havas, playing a central role on both DFR and, of course, the career-defining Palau Pledge. I’m extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to partner with him and wish him the very best for his next adventure.
“And, while Ant has been with us for less time, he has had no less of an impact. As well as being very talented and totally committed to his craft, he is also one of the most liked and respected people in the business. They’ve both been brilliant and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for everything they’ve done for us.”
Higgins stated, “Over the past five and a half years, I’ve been honoured to be involved in so many great campaigns and work with so many smart and imaginative people. I’ve certainly done my best work since I’ve been here and the team’s collective passion and ambition to create great stories, push boundaries and embrace innovation, has made it a great place to work each day. I’ll miss the team greatly but I know that they will continue to thrive in the very capable hands of Jon.”
Higgins will leave the agency in March and the new creative structure will take effect immediately.