Exclusive: Saatchi Australia's Steve Back to join Ogilvy Singapore as chief creative officer

SteveBack.jpg(UPDATED STORY) CB Asia exclusive: In one of the biggest appointments of the year Campaign Brief Asia hears that Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney ECD Steve Back has been lured to Asia in the role of Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Singapore. 

Back is one of Australia's most respected and awarded ECDs and was appointed as executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney in November 2007, replacing David Nobay when he departed to start up Droga5.

Reporting to Stephen Mangham, Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Singapore and Eugene Cheong, Regional Executive Creative Director Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, Back will oversee The Ogilvy Group's entire creative product in Singapore.

Originally a star at Marketforce in Perth, Back first worked at George Patterson Sydney followed by a highly awarded stint at Leo Burnett Sydney. Back played a major role in Leo's winning Campaign Brief's Australian Agency of the Year in 2000. Back then spent several years in London before being enticed to New Zealand to join Colenso BBDO. Mike O'Sullivan then hired Back as Head of Art when he was appointed ECD of Saatchi & Saatchi NZ. The agency went on the win CB New Zealand Agency of the year in 2006 and 2007.

He then joined DDB Sydney as creative director where he dramatically re energized the agency, moving them to equal number one Australian agency in The Work 07 with Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney. Under Back, DDB Sydney was the only Australian agency to get gongs at all four of the top international award shows (D&AD, The One Show, Clio and Cannes) in 2007.

In the official press release just received by Campaign Brief Asia Eugene Cheong said: "We took the better part of six months, looking and waiting for someone of Steve's stature to take the job. And, wonder of wonders, the statuesque Steve showed up and signed on the dotted line. Singapore is our most famous office and our super-hub. We wanted a big man to be its creative chief. At six foot six, Steve more than fit the bill."

Commenting on his appointment Steve Back stated: "Ogilvy Singapore presented an irresistible opportunity to join an agency at the top of its game. The Ogilvy team has great ambition, passion, and energy with leading edge capabilities across all media. I'm obsessed with the power of creativity to solve real business problems and creating an environment where world class ideas thrive."

Added Stephen Mangham: "With Asia poised to outstrip North America and Europe in ad spend, it's vital that our talent is up to this challenge. Steve's track record of 'doing great work which works' on big brands is what sets him apart. Steve is a big believer in developing not just big ideas, but big ideal for brands."

"Ogilvy Singapore is fortunate to have a number of outstanding creative leaders, Steve will work with these ECDs in driving the quality of the work across all our clients, and ensure that we are one agency indivisible."

Also commenting on the appointment David Mayo, President Ogilvy & Mather (Advertising) Asia Pacific said: "Steve Back's arrival is part of our ongoing creative investment strategy to bring the best heavyweight talent from around the world to Ogilvy in Asia. Over the past nine months we have handpicked the very best names in the business from all over the world and are deep into discussions with some extraordinary individuals. We hope to have more announcements of Steve's size over the coming months in several markets around the region.

Back will take up the Ogilvy Group role in January 2011. O&M Singapore's Rob Gaxiola is not impacted and remains in his ECD position.


Anonymous said:

How many ECDs do you need?

Anonymous said:

So Ogilvy is planning on being creative again?

Anonymous said:

Saatchi losing all their CDs and talent from every agency

Anonymous said:

Good appointment. Ogilvy needs help in Singapore. They have really dropped off.

Anonymous said:

Good luck Backy!
He'll sort out Ogilvy.

Anonymous said:

Agree with 7.31. How many ECDs and 'Creative Partners' do you need down there?

Anonymous said:

Congratulations and good luck! (And watch your back.)

Anonymous said:

If he can do good work for real clients there, he is a hero. But Khai and Eugene will be happy if he just produces more award-winning scams.

Take away the scams and Ogilvy Singapore is a retail bucket shop, as bad as any back-alley Mac monkey menagerie. To change that, you'd need to change the agency culture, not the (E)CD. But that won't happen, Khai and Eugene and others in the agency made their names with print scams and don't give a darn about the work that actually runs.

The crap that runs subsidizes the award quest. So the agency makes money and wins awards. The two processes however, are entirely unrelated to each other.

Word said:


all the comments you get on CB Asian blog sound positive despite CB Australia are full of wankers.

Anonymous said:

Looks like Andy Greenaway....

Anonymous said:

Shame for Saatchi, Backy and the team have had a stellar year for work.
Saatchi's is falling apart worldwide since Bob Isherwood left - it seems every good creative worldwide has bailed, or is wanting to bail. A brilliant creative network, let go to the dogs. There is no creative leader world wide, and it is showing big time.
Good luck to those few good ones who are left.
Ogilvy Singapore you've made a good choice.
Saatchi ...... another one bites the dust.

Anonymous said:

Saatchi is a basket case as 12.54 says.

Too much talent has left in Asia-Pac and worldwide so you can understand Steve Back's decision to join them

Anonymous said:

Welcome to Ogilvy Steve.
It's a great place but don't trust the suits.

Anonymous said:

12:35 He may look like Andy Greenway but that's where the similarities end. Steve is the real deal when it comes to winning awards.

Anonymous said:

Wow, great news. Hopefully he can fire up this dead market and put us back on the awards map

Anonymous said:

Does that mean the exit door for the ECD, Robert Gaxiola? It's time Ogilvy got some good creative people who produce good work.

Anonymous said:

The press release clearly states: 'O&M Singapore's Rob Gaxiola is not impacted and remains in his ECD position.'

That of course means Rob probably has crosshairs on his back.

Mark Johnson said:

Just to set the record straight

Steve - "Chewy Backa" got his 1st gig at JB&B (Perth)

Looks like he got a good dose of Creative Thinking there

Good onya Chewy !!!!

Anonymous said:

'I'm obsessed with the power of creativity to solve real business problems ...'

Sorry. Shit outa luck then. Your 'real' business problem is now how to win awards without putting too much strain on the actual business.

F34R said:

Great for Ogilvy creatives in sg. will definitely make other ogilvy ecds in asia look bad. Hopefully he gets to sell great work to sg clients.

Anonymous said:

Make other Ogilvy ECDs in Asia look bad?

Apparently you don't know much about Ogilvy ECDs in Asia.

Anonymous said:

They don't need help to look bad!

If he starts winning awards though, it will be another bat for Khai and mini-Khai to use to beat them around the heads.

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