BWM Dentsu Melbourne reveals new leadership team as Mark Watkin and Simon Bagnasco exit

Image_BWMD_lowres (1).jpgBWM Dentsu has announced new leadership within its Melbourne branch as the business prepares for its next phase of growth.

After just under four years with BWM Dentsu Melbourne, managing director Mark Watkin is departing the agency to pursue a new opportunity. Watkin joined in September 2013 from TBWA\Melbourne. Also resigning from the agency for a yet to be revealed new role, is executive creative director Simon Bagnasco, who joined the agency in April last year.

Belinda Murray will fill Watkin's role as MD. Murray first joined the agency as an account director in 2008.
The agency has promoted Amy Hollier to the role of executive creative director and Phil van Bruchem to associate creative director. Hollier joined BWM Dentsu as a creative director in 2011. van Bruchem has been with BWM Dentsu for 18 months as a creative director, creating work that has recently been recognised at D&AD, Cannes, One Show, AWARD, Adfest and the New York Festivals.

Kimberley Milburn has been recruited from Target where she was head of go to market to become BWM Dentsu client service director and the lead on the KMART account.

Says Paul Williams, CEO, BWM Dentsu Group: "As the Melbourne office enters its tenth year in business, it's time to refresh and create new career opportunities for some of the key staff who have made BWM Dentsu one of the most respected creative forces in the Melbourne and Australian market.

"For the partners of BWM Dentsu it is hugely satisfying to reward and develop staff, who have already played a major role in building our Melbourne business, with senior leadership roles.

"Belinda Murray is a seasoned professional who has managed the highs and lows of building an agency, led numerous successful pitches, and has run some of our biggest accounts. With Belinda, staff and clients know they are getting 150% passion, drive and determination, and
we're very pleased to offer Belinda the opportunity to put her own leadership stamp on BWM Dentsu Melbourne.

"Amy Hollier has maintained a consistent high standard of creative integrity and leadership for six years on many clients including Kmart. She has a strong personal commitment to diversity in advertising and will bring a fresh perspective to the leadership of our client teams.

"Phil has made a significant and ongoing contribution to our creative offering by helping lead a talented team of creatives across clients including Kmart,, Dr Oetker and Chadstone. His strong leadership and experience has been reflected in BWM's recent successes at high-profile award shows both here and overseas.

"Kimberley Milburn joins us with a wealth of experience from both the client and agency side, running big retail businesses and building high performing teams. We are excited about the additional senior management perspective she brings to the Melbourne team.

"This is a very strong team that just works incredibly well together."

Williams thanks former MD Mark Watkin for his dedication during his four years in the role: "Mark has led a solid period of growth for BWM Dentsu in Melbourne and helped develop the talent that is now part of a generational change. The BWM Dentsu partners are grateful to Mark for his commitment to the brand during the four years he has worked with us.

"We would also like to thank and farewell Simon Bagnasco as executive creative director. We wish him the very best in his next role."

The management transformation will ready the Melbourne business for increased work from Toyota, as the brand transitions its marketing operations to Melbourne in 2018, in addition to other opportunities with Melbourne-based brands across retail, apparel, consumer technology, health and financial services.

(Pictured L-R: Belinda Murray, Amy Hollier, Phil van Bruchem, Rob Belgiovane, Kimberley Milburn, Paul Williams)


Murray White said:

I told you it wasn't just me!

RB said:


Everyone's thinking said:

Good luck Phill.

Mr White said:

An exciting plot twist to my drama series, HBO might give me an extension!

So sad :_( said:

Well done ladies. It's your time to shine!

Wow said:

Good luck Watto

free speech said:

thanks for the editing Campaign brief. would hate to see anything derogatory on this website

Admirer said:

Sad outcome. But if anyone can make this work, it's pretty much only Phil.

long service said:

Where's the announcement of Ross the Boss as GM then?

Nobody is thinking said:

Good luck Bags.

Hmmm.. said:

Phil's face in the photo says it all

Not a good look said:

3 ECD's in less than two years is not a great look for any agency.

Game of Thrones said:

That was a fun experiment. Now get back to putting music over people dancing!

...... said:

Wattooooo ... one of the good ones. You'll smash it wherever's next.

Telling said:

I really love the long, heartfelt eulogy for Bagnasco.

Oh no, wait. They hardly mentioned him at all.

Oh what a feeling said:

No doubt this news fills Toyota with great confidence.

Brilliant said:

Well done Belinda. Persistence and resilience pays off. You too, Amy.

Obvious said:

@Telling, I couldn't imagine why...

Not Buying It said:

Looks like the golden boy's run is over. Can't wait to see which digital shop/partner buy in you turn up at Baggers

Congrats said:

Pow! Pow! Go get em, Bee.

@obvious @telling said:

The creative dept are unhappy to see Simon go, and you will see most of the teams looking to get out now.

The problem is BWM is a retail agency, and not designed for award winning work - it's just not in its DNA.

Simon's exit sends a clear message to creatives who want to do internationally awarded work - you won't do it here. It'll ruffle too many feathers.

Wow. said:

Wow. You Melbourne have lots of time on your hands.

So many obscure comments.

Finally said:

Great to see appropriate acknowledgment of the talent within

Another bad agency with another bad decision. said:

How are they going to hire talent now?

No one will want to work there now - they breed mediocrity and have done for years.

Idiots said:

They bring bags in to win awards, he actually does, he's axed.

Back to bad said:

Let the reign of mediocrity begin.

Sorry Baggers said:

It's bloody hard to get good work (or any work) up in an agency where every department is pulling in a different direction. As someone above said, it's just not in the place's DNA. I think I mentioned that to you just after you started. You know, right before you fired all of us.

On the plus side, the world is a much happier place outside of BWM Melbourne than in it.

@Idiots said:

18 months, 1 bronze lion, hold on I'll just borrow Clems wheelbarrow.

classic comment said:

Ha what's the issue with being a retail agency?
And if your motivation is 'winning international awards' then go work at Clems if you're good enough.

Mr. White said:

Can I come back now?

BWM Melbourne.... said:

A slow motion car crash, bodies being flung out left right and centre. Occasionally look like they've got control, but it's only temporary as it kicks back into a slide, flipping onto its roof, doors ripped off hinges, windscreen cracked, heading towards the raveen.

Oh the humanity.

@classic comment said:

The problem is most creatives like being creative.

The Last hope said:


Phil said:

Looks like BWM Melbourne is suffering from the same problems the Sydney office does. So many great creatives I know would never work there because of its terrible reputation. This isn't going to help.

@@obvious @telling @idiots said:

I've been lucky enough to have been in and out of BWM Melbourne many times and they've had some great talent and lovely people in there over the years. What is really sad is that a talented creative was put in control with no real idea how to run an agency and eyes only for awards. It's indicative of the agency world at the moment - awards, awards, awards! (I'm not talking Effies) Screw the day to day, ditch the solid work that makes the wheels go around, the learning and the skill sharpening. Spend all your time making up awards videos, throw people by the wayside, let clients dribble down the drain and find yourself sinking into the mud like some Dickensian Fagen grabbing for your scraps of gold. Or bronze as it may be.

how.. said:

Have Denstu not stepped in to try to fix this mess?

Serious question. said:

Why would any creative want to work there now?

...... said:

That's a loss for BWM. Having worked with Simon and Watto over the years I'm sure they would have their reasons.

@10:08 said:

You've got no idea. Simon was an incredible boss and mentor that did a hell of a lot more for the creative department than what you're suggesting. And yes, he's guilty of raising the standard of creative in the office.

We're devastated that he has chosen to leave and I expect more will follow.

question said:

What's the jump v pushed ratio here please?

I think they were both pushed.

Give peace a chance said:

A unified leadership team with the right kind of drive, a bit of empathy and basic people skills seems like a good start to getting this place back on track.

On ya Ames, B and Phil.

Misinformed... said:

A lot of axe grinding and venom. With very little substance as usual.

Truth is the BWM business is, and will continue to be, a healthy agency in the Melbourne market. Clients aren't rushing out the door and neither are the staff.

The work done by the current creative department, and I mean the day to day work, has never been stronger. And yes, I'm talking about real work on real clients. The idea that the agency has been ruined or decimated is bullshit and lies. Want proof? Check Kmart's recent results.

People move on, get new jobs, that's the industry. Deal with it.

Insider said:

Knowing both Simon and Watto well these guys have both resigned to go to good opportunities.

@givepeaceachance said:

Anyone who has worked at BWM Melbourne, knows this is far from a 'unified' leadership team.

I was there said:

@insider: that's bullshit and you know it.

@Serious question said:

Creatives would want to work there now because they will win back clients, work in an environment where diversity is embraced and there is more empathy and objectivity. They will want to work there because they care about the real work they do for clients on a day-to-day basis.

Give peace a chance said:

A unified leadership team who have the right kind of drive, a bit of empathy and some basic people skills seems like a smart start to rebuilding this shop.

And three chicks in control should be something to celebrate. Not as a femolution... but because they might just be the right ones for the job.

Belgio said:

The facts are Simon and Watto have resigned and there's no bad blood.
One is moving to a partnership scenarios, something me, Paul, Jamie understand all to well and would never try to stop and the other to an opportunity too good to refuse.
Both are incredibly talented and I guess that's why they were offered these opportunities.
Baggers has done a brilliant job with a D&AD (wood) pencil and a Lion (bronze) a one show (silver) and an AdFest (Silver)and an Award awards Gold this year...and he's done that with a brilliant talented creative department and some great suits, planners and clients.(Ash and the Sydney team have done equally well this year).
Sure some agencies win more but BWM has always been about balance, thats why we're one of the few Sydney brands that have built a sustainable, long term business in Melbourne.
BWM Dentsu Melb is and will remain are very profitable business with some of Melbourne's biggest clients on its books to which it will soon add Toyota.
Best of all it has a talented team of 82 people who for the most part love working there and even better it has people like Belinda Murray and Amy Hollier who have collectively been there for 20 years waiting patiently for the opportunity to step up and lead it through the next phase of growth and development and with the support of Phil and Kimberley, me ,Paul and Jamie they will succeed. I'm very proud that we have collectively created a business where very successful people want to spend many years of their lives and can reward their loyalty with opportunities to step into leading industry positions like these.

The Brutal Truth said:

Hey, it's agencyland, people. Stuff happens, people come, people go. The issues at BWM are hardly unique. If you don't like it, the best remedy is to get out of the ad business.

It worked for me.

3% said:

Good on you Rob:)

Well done Amy and Belinda and good luck to Simon and Mark in their new adventures.

If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all said:


Derek Green said:

Congrats Amy! I know you'll do an awesome job.

Onya @Belgio said:

Anyone who has ever worked with Mark or Simon will know that they're just good dudes, who want to do great work. There's no reason for any hostility here. Wherever they land will be really lucky to have them.

James said:

Baggers and Watto are two two top blokes that I feel lucky to have worked with. Good luck to both of you, not that you guys really need it.

THIS ^ said:

....Is why I hate this industry. I'm out.

Mr White said:

Surely I can come back now? Please?

Make your bed said:

Reputation vs Reality is the big question in advertising. As an agency principal, you might not always be in control of the latter one. But you are definitely in control of the first one. If your agency has a bad reputation out there, ask yourself why. And act on it.

@THIS ^ said:

Oh grow up.

Pseudonym said:

If the partner of an agency needs to comment on his own press release, shits not right. This seems like a new lick of paint on a sinking boat. They've made it look nice, but haven't addressed the real issues.

Toyota said:

We're only awarding you 1/4 of the business. Pump breaks

Wow said:

I thought I was the only person this place burnt. Turns out no.

Ed said:

Nice one ladies. We spend so much time as an industry bemoaning the lack of female leadership and poor gender balance then when something positive does happen all we can do is throw stones at the past rather than support a brighter future. Do good.

Mario Pappardelle said:

Well done and good luck to the new leadership - particularly Phil. We love Phil.

And we love the snack cupboard. Hands down the best snack cupboard in the industry.

And maybe it's time we're all done being angry and hating on the place, because, ain't nobody got time for that.

Man, I miss that snack cupboard.

frustrated said:

Awards dont retain clients.

Decimating production budgets to maintain a base line profit margin for clients is what wins clients.

Clients destroy creativity. Always have. Thats why its called advertising people.... not Art.

Its time we start asking Account managers to do their job and massage the creative back into clients psyche rather than joining the long line of experienced yes people, gradually destroying creativity in the industry.

Ben said:

Frustrated is right, the 'creatives make, accounts sell' model worked bloody well for a very long time. We've realised media is better off back in the agency, maybe we'll work this one out too.

Meanwhile, congrats Amy, a brilliant creative and a wonderful person.

Let's be honest said:

Belgio, hand on heart, you hired Simon not because BWM takes a balanced view of awards, but because he's a gun at winning them. It was a failed experiment.

Hats off for trying - this is not an attack in any way. But the truth is, BWM Melbs was never going to be a good fit for an award-hungry ECD. The clients are there because they like what you've done on K-Mart - and why not? $371m for fy16/17 is magnificent. You should all be proud, and I hope you are.

But that's Effies material. Not Cannes. Everyone loves to say that they're the same thing, but they're not. If you went all ultra-hip bleeding edge Cannes Lions weird on the big K, you'd ruin the brand. I've seen it happen more than once.

Personally I believe you've finally done the right thing. That agency is safe as houses in Amy's hands - you should have done it years ago, before Muz or Bags.

But you're not being honest in your blog post. This was a failed experiment.

@BWM said:

is it true you work every second weekend?

@@BWM said:

Let's just put it this way.

If you're not here on Saturday, don't even bother coming in on Sunday.

Jen Barnett said:

This happy news came up on my feed a few times this week because I'm friends with Belinda, Amy and Rob. We've worked together for many years.

So I stupidly thought there'd be some nice congratulations happening here. Ha. Of course there's not. It's fucking toxic.

Sure BWM is not perfect. No agency is. But utter nastiness that's spilling out of you nameless trolls is what's wrong with our industry and possibly the world today.
Stop tearing people down. Go start your own hugely successful agency.

If you think working on the weekend is too big a call, work in an agency that doesn't do it. I can assure you as a seasoned and very busy freelancer, most of them do.

How about you stop for a minute and congratulate two women who've worked their tits off and finally been entrusted with the top gig.

Congratulations Bee and Amy. About time Belgio x

legacy said:


@legacy said:

I haven't laughed like this in a while!

@legacy said:


@@@BWM said:

Oh cry me a river @@BWM
BWM pay much, much, much better than most agencies.
Well done B&A.

The Reaper said:

You reap what you sow. Enough said. Thanks for your comments. This really is the only forum which keeps the bastards honest beyond the bullshit PR releases. Well done Campaign Brief.

@@@BMW said:

Well done Rob!

Robbie B said:

Yep, no need for the snark. Congrats on the step up Belinda and Amy.

And congrats to Baggers and Mark - whoever's ponied up to land you has done so because they know you'll make the work better.

ps: Belgo's post was better than the press release.

@Let's be honest said:

Absolutely positively nailed it.

Gil Fewster said:

Wow. This kind of toxic, childish garbage goes a long way to explaining why some people take a dim view of marketing and marketers. Anonymous bile like this may conceal your specific identity but it tars the entire industry and all of your colleagues with the same brush.

Save your bitter, juvenile barbs for the pub and grow up.

Congratulations Bee and Amy. You’ve both worked hard for this and you’ll be awesome — not that you need me to tell you that! Just remember to keep the servers elevated above the floor — we never did manage to get that roof 100% flood proof!

Leave a comment