Howcroft set to depart Y&R Brands for TEN

RUSSELL-HOWCROFT-CANNES.jpgAfter two years in the role, Y&R Brands chief executive Russel Howcroft is set to depart the group - most probably for a senior role at Channel Ten.

When asked by CB back in July, Howcroft, star of The Gruen Transfer, denied he was leaving. CB first got wind of his impending departure from a senior Y&R executive while in Cannes.

The closure of The Campaign Palace, part of Y&R Brands, during Cannes week, was a low point of his two years, and he would also have been disappointed with the sluggish performance of GPY&R Sydney during that time.

However, GPY&R Melbourne has performed well, both in terms of business and creative product. The agency was the star Aussie performer at Cannes this year.

Before taking on the Y&R Brands role, Howcroft was chairman and managing director of GPY&R Melbourne, joining in September 2006.
Before that Howcroft was CEO of The Furnace, the Havas-owed agency he co-founded as Leonardi Brandhouse in 1995. He has also worked for McCann Erickson and Lowe Howard-Spink in London and did a previous stint at George Patterson. He was a former chairman of the Advertising Federation of Australia.

More on this soon.....

20 Comments

Reg said:

I presume he'll have to give up his ABC gig too?

Good luck Russ said:

Russ came to Y&R when it was on its knees. He re-built the business and, with Ben Coulson's support, re-established the agency's creative reputation. Many would have found the task too daunting, or simply walked away. That he took on the task is as admirable as what he achieved. Good luck Russ, you deserve it.

Erasmus said:

Sounds an odd move. Russel really loves advertising - perhaps the most genuine person in the business, for all his critics. But it it's true, I wish him best of luck. Truth is, at Ch10, he'll need it.

Andrew Denton said:

So Gruen moves to Ten?

Charlotte Rawbum said:

If the rumours are false, he can always join me on Australia's Next Top Model.

He looks hot in that white Lycra top!

About Time said:

Well it was only a matter of time he had to leave Patts. It went from bad to worse under his leadership. A once great agency now a basket case in Sydney and indecision killed the Palace. He might be good at making ads, but obviously not good at making business decisions.

Deal with the facts said:

'About Time' - you are wrong. When Russ took over Patts Melb it was a ticking time bomb. It had lost its major creative talent and MD. It lost CUB. The smell of scandal/uncertainty hung over the agency. Morale was at an all time low. Many people would've just put it in 'the too hard basket' and taken on something a little easier; and make no mistake, Russ turned down at least one great offer that would've earned him much bigger bucks than Patts were paying. He chose to stay at Patts to help re-build it. And that's exactly what he did. Sure, Patts has had its ups and downs since - but if it wasn't for Russ having the guts to take on the challenge, foster some outstanding work and re-build the morale of the agency Y&R Patts would've closed long before now.

Groucho said:


Y & R has been like a praying mantis eating its mate afterward intercourse;
Mattingly, Patts, was it the place, or was it the people?

tv hater said:

Lets hope he applies some of what he's learnt to Ten. Let's face it, Aussie TV channels are utter pants. Filled with dreadful programming, horrible inhouse ads for themselves and a lowest common denominator tone of voice. I don't even watch terrestial anymore I find it all so hateful. Would love to see him turn around one of our stations to be a quality offering, like Channel 4 in the UK or HBO in the states. Good luck.

Not the MD of Patts Melbourne said:

Half of these comments completely miss the point. Russel wasn't paid to run Patts Melbourne - he was paid to run the portfolio of Y&R Brands companies across New Zealand and Australia. How well or badly one of the group's brands did in it's Melbourne office is simply not how he should be judged.

A measured assessment said:

'About Time' is spot on. Forget Patterson in Melbourne - what about Ideaworks? Disaster. Or The Palace? Disaster? Or George Patts in Sydney? Disaster. Or Y&R New Zealand? Disaster. Coulson doing some nice work in Melbourne and Todd feeding him some good lines on Gruen doesn't add up to a success.

Sorrell's pov said:

'Deal with the facts' is touching in his ( correct) defence of Russ' role/performance with Patterson's Melbourne office. However two years ago he was promoted to run the group across the region. It's a bit like judging Mike Cognahan on O&M Sydney and ignoring the other 87 companies/offices he is responsible for.

Ex Patts person said:


In terms of Patts Melbourne's success, I think they principally have Coulson to thank.

He has been at the management and creative tiller there for the past 2 years, since Russ took the regional role. He has driven their transition from an old school ad shop a digital agency - and they are flying.

That said, I wish Russ all the best, he is a true ad person and an good bloke.

Career Guy said: said:

For the record - Patts was well Fucked before anyone involved at GPY&R now was there. It was a second rate agency with second rate people that had been sold and bought once already, and on the market to the highest bidder again - And that was nearly 10 years ago.
Now it's far more Y&R than Patts and that is a very good thing.

Dave said:


Patts Melbourne is Coulson. He makes it a success. If he stays, it stays strong.

Domo said:

He wants to be a media/TV star - that's it. Ten wont do any better under him.

Jen said:

Agree. He only wants to be a media personality.

LEFT FIELD said:

MORE REALITY TV PLEASE #ONLYJOKING

Erasmus said:

Anyone here blaming Howcroft for the agency's decline really has no knowledge of the place.

First, a bit over ten or so years ago, you had the likes of Hamill, Fawcett and Smith selling, then buying, then selling the place in the course of just a few years - making a nice dollar for themselves, but doing great damage to the agency brand.

Then along came the bloke who now calls himself Creative Chairman at another agency. The agency made one great ad under him and a lot of extremely bad ones, and by the time he left they had not much more than half as much business as when he started.

And then, as we all know, the agency's biggest account - one they'd had for over 40 years - followed him to his new agency under intriguing circumstances involving the former agency MD who had turned up as the client at that account.

So by the time Russel Howcroft rode in on his white charger, the agency was just a shadow of it's former self. He would have been shocked to see how much had changed since he last worked their. I understand he tried hard to bring back some of the Patts heritage and values, but it was a lost cause.

In truth, the name Patts shouldn't be on there anymore. That once great agency is dead, mortally wounded by one generation of management totally focused on their own short term gain, and then killed off by a few fly-by-nighters who did a smash and grab on the place.

To blame Russel Howcroft for not returning it to its former glory is just plain dumb.

The suspense in your unfinished sentence is killing me, 8:04 said:

Since he last worked their WHAT?

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