A South African has been appointed to the position of Regional President: Digital and Transformation for Asia Pacific at global marketing communication agency, Draftfcb. Effective January 2009, Neil van der Weele will assume responsibility for establishing and driving a digital and interactive capability for Draftfcb across 12 countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Van der Weele, who will be based in Melbourne, is currently Group Chief Executive of Draftfcb South Africa. He will be replaced by current MD, John Dixon
In another Draftfcb Worldwide appointment, Draftfcb South Africa Group Executive Creative Director, Ashley Bacon, has been appointed as Regional Creative Director for Asia Pacific. Bacon will continue to reside in South Africa and maintain overall creative responsibility for the local group.
Non-Executive Chairman Nkwenkwe Nkomo made the announcements on 13 October in Johannesburg and described the two worldwide appointments as a milestone in the South African group’s 82-year history.
“We are proud that Draftfcb South Africa has long been regarded by Draftfcb Worldwide as one of the top three agencies in our network of 110 offices across the globe, and we are proud that the talent we have in Draftfcb South Africa, and in the South African advertising industry as a whole, is truly amongst the very best in the world.
“The future success of advertising agencies is going to be highly dependent on their ability to embrace interactive and digital communication, and utilise this to the benefit of their clients. In turn, embracing digital is going to transform agencies as we know them, and one of Neil’s key deliverables in the region will be to ensure that this transformation takes place.’
Nkomo, who will now become Executive Chairman at Draftfcb South Africa, paid tribute to Van der Weele. “Neil has been Group Chief Executive of Draftfcb South Africa for the past eight years, and over that period he has led the agency from strength to strength.
He has played a key role in refocusing and streamlining our entire operation by identifying opportunities for strengthening our diversified offering. We all know his dedication to our company went beyond profitability to embrace people as evidenced by the programmes Draftfcb has undertaken to create a people-centred environment.’
Van der Weele said that Draftfcb was delighted that Nkomo was taking up the Executive Chairman’s role. “Nkwenkwe is the perfect man for the Executive Chairman’s seat. His credentials are impeccable, and his loyalty to the Draftfcb South Africa group and its clients beyond reproach. Nkwenkwe will lead the group with vision and sincerity, and staff and clients alike will benefit from his guidance.’
Dixon added: “Having Nkwenkwe back full time will be a huge boon to the company. He has always had this vision of us being a truly South African agency. As for Neil and Ashley’s appointment – it speaks very well that a global group head hunts South Africans. Regarding my own promotion – I’ve obviously very proud. It’s a huge agency and a huge job.’
The Johannesburg agency’s operations will continue to be run by recently appointed Jerry Mpufane (formerly Group Marketing Director, SABC Commercial Enterprises), who will announce his plans for the future structure of the Johannesburg agency at a later date.
Draftfcb Johannesburg won arguably the most important – and biggest – account to move this year when it was awarded Vodacom’s Retail business. Gidani (Lotto) was another sizeable win for this agency. Draftfcb Cape Town won several Johnson & Johnson brands, Van Schaik Bookstores, and the V&A Waterfront, while Draftfcb Durban added Decorland and Transnet Pipelines. It also took on considerable design work for several major international hospitality groups. The group’s Africa network continued to roll-out work for Moneygram and SC Johnson accounts on the continent, outside of South Africa, and is now responsible for their advertising business in 15 and 11 countries respectively.