M&C Saatchi ECD Michael Canning departs agency to focus on personal creative venture

Michael Canning_72andSunny (1).jpgM&C Saatchi has today announced the departure of its executive creative director, Michael Canning.

Canning has decided to leave the agency at the end of January to pursue a personal creative venture.

A native to Sydney, Canning spent six years working in the USA, first as ECD and managing partner at Leo Burnett North America followed by 72andSunny Los Angeles in 2014 as ECD, before returning to Australia in November 2015 to join M&C Saatchi Sydney.
Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 11.07.28 am.jpgUnder his leadership the agency has produced some of its most notable work. Highlights include AIME 'Cogs', the CommBank 'CAN re-launch' and educational platform 'Teleporter Adventures', a new fire prevention technology for Australian communities in NRMA 'Fireblanket' and the launch of a global platform for Lexus with the immersive experience 'Hidden Artistry'. In 2017, M&C Saatchi was named Australia's most innovative company in the AFR awards.

Says Canning: "As a creative person I'm a big believer in entrepreneurial thinking, which is something that attracted me to M&C Saatchi from the US. With the start of the new year I've decided that the time is right for me to spend some quality time on a personal venture that I'm passionate about.

"I'm very proud of the work we've created at M&C Saatchi over the past two years. With Cam joining this year, I know the creative department are in great hands and I can't wait to see what they do this year."

Says Jaimes Leggett, CEO, M&C Saatchi: "We're sad to see Michael go. We have always admired him for his creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit. We're excited to see his next venture. I'd like to thank him for everything he has done at the agency."

M&C Saatchi will welcome its new CCO, Cam Blackley in early February.

37 Comments

Doofus said:

Onya, Canning,

Looking forward to seeing the new venture.
I wish you all the heaps of success you deserve and will no doubt achieve.

Fan Club said:

Can't wait to see what you do next and its always such a pleasure to work with you.
The nicest man in the business.

Sarah said:

One of the most talented and lovely people in the industry.

Gr8 guy said:

All the best MC. Time to go to an agency with windows that open - and fridge doors that open!

Chad said:

Not sure what he ever did at M&C?

Mark said:

This one is a true Jedi

Yawn said:

Yep, with you there @Chad... but all the best Canning, probs best for M&C to get some fresh talent in.

@Chad said:

Can’t you read the press release?
Well done Canning. It’s a brave move and you bring the creative passion to anything you do. Even where creative seeds are impossible to sow you’ve grown some beautiful ideas

Baron Mein Fumpernickel said:

Good move getting out now.

Been there said:

That place is fairly soul-destroying, congrats on getting out

Dahhhhhhh said:

Didn't have to be Einstein to see this coming.

Laurel said:

@Chad said...

He wasn't part or responsible for those ideas, just in the same building at the time. Hence I agree with Chad.

Hmm said:

I’d say he got out just in the nick of time...

Insider said:

M&C created a soulless place by hiring 'names' instead of substance. Good luck.

A few good men said:

Ben 2015, Andy 2016, Canning 2017, Cam 2018?

@laurel @chad said:

Strategy guys are on the blog again

To all the praisers said:

Who are you people? You clearly didn't have to work with him.

Seriously said:

@Laurel @Chad
There’s always one isn’t there. Canning has a consistent record of multi award winning work and was the ECD of this agency. But yeah of course must have had nothing to do with the great work coming out of it.

Brutally Simple Firing said:

M&C grind through another creative.

Wow said:

@to all the praisers
Anyone who knows Michael knows he is one of the kindest men in the business. And to use his resignation press release to voice your anonymous rubbish, says you were probably the problem if there was one.

Good luck Michael. You’ll be missed.

@Seriously said:

I was there at the time. I agree with @Chad @Laurel, he didn't those were the brilliance of other CD's there. Who have been there for years. And projects that were created before he joined.

Veteran said:

Sorry to disappoint all the conspiracy theorists but there is nothing untoward here.Andy was CCO.The job didn't work out, like it hasn't for lots of CDs in this industry.So you move on and find some place that works better for you.It seems Andy has done just that at TBWA.Meanwhile Michael no doubt was working hard to demonstrate that he could step up to CCO.Then along comes Cam who having done such a great job at BMF pips Michael,presumably due to his greater experience.So Michael resigns and will probably be given the role elsewhere.Based on his track record and likeability it will be a good job in good agency.
This isn't a job for life industry.It is highly paid and as such demanding.People move around.Really there's nothing to see here folks.I wish both both lads success.

Proof will be in the pudding said:

M&C is a toxic place. Was before Michael. Will be long after he's gone.
And the sad reality is he participated wholeheartedly in the grubby, short-sighted politicking that put everything - everything - before the work.
It tore the creative department apart. Which had, until then, been somewhat protected from you know who.
But, when it comes to his talent, let's just wait and see. He might just knock it outta the park again.

Inside word. said:

I think everyone knows where the toxic culture and politicking comes from at M&C, and he doesn't sit in the creative department. I'd say creatives like Ben, Andy and Michael leaving are a pretty big signs they don't support that culture.

Jen said:

Hey Mr Poison Pudding.If you feel that strongly about M and C and feel the need to be so scathing be gutsy enough to put your name to your comments.Otherwise we all just read it and conclude you are just another no talent malcontent who got the arse.
But back to Michael...he is a good guy and I wish him well.

Brett said:

Bold move Michael, but you’re a smart guy, so can’t wait to see what you do
All the best

Does Michael no favours said:

Michael is by any measure a decent guy and a very good creative but ... to credit him with CommBank 'Can' does him no favours.

Amz said:

Good luck Michael
So lovely working with you,

@toallthepraiserssaid said:

I agree with you. I'm really baffled at all the praise. The reality is Michael had zero relationship with the creatives at M&C. And every pitch was lost. That's the reality.

Todd said:

Funny how this blog removed the CEO's name when mentioned in a comment. Says it all.

on the creative team said:

I'm finding all these comments really offensive.
Michael was a great leader and actually a good friend to many of us outside of office hours. Also, if you worked in the business and had any idea, you'd know we only lost one pitch and won everything else. So many awful trolls.

Shane said:

Who is this guy writing all the fake negative comments? Nasty business we work in, isn't it?

Pun Time said:


Seems M&C is the real Tricky Jigsaw


I'lll show myself out...

Hilarious said:

@onthecreativeteam lost one pitch? Qantas & Virgin?

Andrew Ostrom said:

I met Michael a long time ago when he was just starting out. He was a humble then and humble now. I've since watched his star rise and continue too rise and continue to rise. He's a truly talented dude. I'm rarely on this thing, but I stopped by to pay a genuinely talented man some respect and wish him well for the future. Not many people get to those positions.

Michael, all the best for the future. You deserve all the good that comes your way.
Onwards you go.

ScenesByDean said:

Did a little bit of work for Michael last year and tho I never met him in the flesh he was a pleasure to do business with. All the very best Micheal, whatever you do - there is gold in them thar hills if you pick the right hill - believe me.

Swings and roundabouts said:

Wouldn't it be funny if Michael ended up as ECD back at BMF?

They might be able to attract some actual talent then...

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