Aussie expat Matt Eastwood departs worldwide chief creative officer role at J Walter Thompson

Matt-Eastwood.jpgAfter four years at J Walter Thompson Aussie expat Matt Eastwood has departed the worldwide chief creative officer role to pursue other opportunities.

Says Eastwood: "I am incredibly proud of what we achieved creatively during my tenure at J. Walter Thompson. Having assessed my personal and professional goals, now feels like the right time to move on to my next adventure."

Eastwood, whose role will not be replaced, joined in 2014 from DDB New York, where he was chief creative officer. Prior to Eastwood, the worldwide CCO role at J Walter Thompson had been vacant since fellow Aussie expat Craig Davis departed in 2009.

Under Eastwood J Walter Thompson has moved from 15th in the Gunn Report to 7th for each of the last two years; from 14th most awarded network at Cannes to 7th. The agency won more Lions in 2016 than ever in the 152 year history of the company (80 Lions/122 shortlist); was the 2nd most awarded network at D&AD last year; was network for the year at Dubai Lyn; was Health Network of the Year at Clio and 5th most awarded network overall last year.
Says worldwide CEO Tamara Ingram: "We are reimagining the future of the agency. This was a structural decision that will allow us to be more agile, leverage our collective global bench strength and encourage the burgeoning diverse 'maker culture' growing within J. Walter Thompson. We would like to thank Matt Eastwood for his contributions and wish him continued success in his future endeavors."

30 Comments

Stu T said:

A gentleman of the industry, with talent and passion for ideas. Well done for all you did at JWT, Matt. You’ll only go on to better things.

tamarajargon said:

Could Tamara reel of a sentence with any more marketing jargon? 'maker culture', 'global bench strength'. Just say that you didnt want to pay for a CCO to spend 80% of his time flying around to offices to go to awards shows. Not an insult to Matt, he's a legend, just a reality of the role of a global CCO who needed to rally a networks creatives..which he did.

David P said:

JWT continues to fall apart. Matt did an amazing job and bailed at the right time before someone has to turn out the lights.

Global bench said:

What an unprofessional and unpleasant quote from the CEO. No need to give out that kind of information. Feels like getting the boots in.

Paul said:

You missed her best quote. “We’re going to use technology to judge creative work ...”. Because machines are better judges.

Philip Taffs said:

...maybe she IS a machine? Where are Mulder and Scully when you need them?

Philip Taffs said:

...maybe she IS a machine? Where are Mulder and Scully when you need them?

Philip Taffs said:

See technology can’t be trusted: my post appeared twice...

Rob said:

@philiptaffs funny!

BigdaddyT said:

I worked at JWT before and during Matt's tenure. He turned the creative around. He made all ECDs and branch CCOs accountable for their offices output. He stopped a lot of the infighting and chaos that had been occurring at the global creative councils. Before Matt, you'd take your offices' work to the global creative council and only if your work scored an 7 or above were you given funds to enter it in big award shows. This led to coalitions between different offices to score their work higher and give other offices lower scores so they could get the funds to enter the work. By making him the main decision maker, you could make a case for the work and not worry about politics. It's why so much good work was done during his run. It will now be back to the chaos and turmoil and the work will suffer accordingly. Truth is JWT has lost so many accounts this year (there is a HUGE one they are about to lose but haven't publicized it yet) that Tamara is cutting as much costs as she can so Sir Martin doesn't step in and fire her. JWT will probably be closing or merging a decent amount of their offices this year. My guess is Tamara will be replaced by this time next year.

Rob said:

Swan song for tv / print only creatives - get into product design or get out of the way

More deadwood said:

The job for an awards driven worldwide creative chief will be in demand as soon as Out of work coal miners or rust belt jobs in ‘merica return.
It doesn’t matter how good one is.
Those jobs are of a bygone era and a broken structure of a dead business model.
As the commodore , Matt isn’t going down with the ship.
He jumped.
Good luck!

jb said:


Couldn't Ingram at least let him spin it his way? Gezus, here is trying to take the classy way out, and she dregs out cliche-ridden spittle about imagining the future of JWT and our collective global bench, blah blah blah. Well, keep imagining, because what you say when you let someone go says a lot about your agency. And you.

Aussiebuck said:

What a disgraceful commentary from Tamara Ingram, a formerly failed CEO who only got appointed because Gustavo f’d up. Matt is a massive talent and an extraordinary humanbeing At least have the grace to let him leave without saying “this was a structural decision”. You’re doomed JWT and your WPP Jurassic Park stablemates who have no f’ing clue what’s happening to your industry.

Why? said:

wpp know what they are doing. Everyone there is super smart

More Deadwood's right and BigdadyT's wrong said:

Poor choice of words from CEO, but if all a global creative chief thinks they have to do is improve an agency's award ranking then they're not long for the chop. BigdaddyT's comments are nothing more than kiddie-comments.

Global CEO & CCO must be equal said:

Creative is what sets us apart from the consultants. When a major company like JWT doesn't value its global creative leader, they have a very big problem.

The Global CEO and CCO must be equal in power if it's going to be successful.

Matt was the guiding light for the network, similar to Bob Isherwood when he led Saatchi & Saatchi. When he got nailed, the network struggled. I'm worried about JWT's future.

Paolo Campisi said:

Matt was one of the few global leaders in the network who every acknowledged any emails I sent him while being a jr. in the Toronto office.

Not entirely sure about any of the reasons surrounding his departure, but if we think that our industry can hang it’s hat solely on creativity as our moat vs. competitors we are all sorely mistaken.

Good luck Matt on your next adventure.

Shame said:

Tamara, Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame

The Judge said:

I was lucky enough to work a couple of times with Matt - I rate him, there's no bullshit and no double play in action.

Matt's departure was no unexpected. The recent account losses made me think his tenure might come to a sudden end.

The CEO, though... that's one person who needs to be taken outside and be taught how to be polite and speak less like a malfunctioning robot.

Stinking ship said:

Any clients of JWT reading this will now have to start questioning how the maker creative will solve the day to day selling of products. Not everyone wants a drone delivering a burger or a AI shampoo letting you know how many washes you’ve got left. It feels that JWT are trying to be the new digital agency and have forgotten what makes our industry different. Next they will remove all the creatives as it’s cheaper to out source the work to a factory in China. There’s no respect for creativity from what this Tamara sees, only keeping the shareholders at WPP happy to get her bonus.

@sinkingship said:

You sound a tad bitter? Almost as if you worked at JWT - never got an increase, or that promotion you felt you deserved.

Every WPPAUNZ agency has to answer to shareholders - advertising is a business, solving business problems not a place where creative types go to express their art.

Beats said:

Who's Tamara's writer, sounds like they're the one that needs to be 'reimagined'.

GRR said:

Some interesting points have been made here. 1. Matt is a great human being and creative, loved and respected around the world. 2 A global CEO and COO must have equal power - or do suits and CFOs rule? 3 That CEO needs to be taught how to be polite, and at the very least respectful - maybe Sorrell could offer some guidance ...
Commodore Thompson must be turning in his grave - sinking ship indeed. The JWT corporate mouthpiece, these spin-sters who cobble together unintelligible public justifications display a bad case of corporate gabblespeak ... first Sydney when they flicked Steve Dodds & Co citing 're-structuring' after losing some business, and now 're-imagining' for much the same reason.
Time to re-think what the once-admired JWT stands for.
Certainly not while it has a flawed figurehead and a bonus-seeking CEO who is already the highest-paid female in advertising - Tamara you are a disgrace to the sisterhood

creative said:

'Global Bench Strength'... what a douche.

Old Colleague said:

Come back to Oz, Matt, if it's not too small (we have a similar land-mass to the USA).

A Simple Truth said:

There's one truth that rises above all others in the business of advertising. And that's to be invaluable to your clients. The problem with regional and global (creative) roles in networks is that people start believing the job is to fly around rallying the creative troops to create award-winning work (as measured by medal tallies), attending and judging at award shows, a string of global internal meetings in exotic locations and maybe a client meeting or two across a year, unless otherwise avoidable. Let's face it, that's much more fun than the day-to-day drudgery of client work. Unfortunately for JWT and Tamara, there are still people on the JWT 'global bench' who've been coasting on this junkett for years and still believe that's their job description. They should find a client or two to love quick smart. Matt's not the problem. He's a legend and one of the best creative leaders out there. The problem was the job description.

@ @sinkingship said:

If you hadn't noticed, consumers loathe advertising, so creativity is absolutely vital to persuade apathetic customers to purchase. Good luck selling anything without a creative approach.

You're probably a 9-5 suit whose best idea is garnishing a vegan salad.

@a simple truth said:

In advertising as in any business, you’re either a unit of production or an overhead.
The farther you are from the work and client, the more likely no one would miss you when you get cut.

Wunderman Thompson staff said:

Looks like BigDaddyT was right:

"JWT will probably be closing or merging a decent amount of their offices this year."

Leave a comment