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News Company News2022-02-09

Essence announces new leadership appointments to boost Australian presence

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Essence today announced that it has strengthened its leadership team in Australia. Appointing a new Managing Director for Brisbane and expanding national leadership roles, Essence will add local bench strength to advance its mission of making brands more valuable to the world.

Simon Pugh is returning to Australia and will lead the agency’s Brisbane office as Managing Director. Pugh is a proven industry leader, with 25 years’ experience in leadership roles across Publicis Groupe, Omnicom and Dentsu in New York, Sydney and San Francisco. Most recently, he was Global Client Leader for Publicis Groupe, and prior, he led West Coast operations for PHD in the United States. 

Pugh brings a global perspective to a uniquely Australian business. His proven track record as a business builder, and an agency pioneer with the ability to lead, promote culture and build relationships amidst rapid change, will ensure that the Brisbane team will continue to innovate and evolve their offering across data, analytics, media strategy and creative.

Pugh says: “This is a transformational time for the agency, and the opportunity to partner with Pat and the broader Essence and GroupM teams to develop Australia’s local proposition was too good to pass up. I’m excited to be back in Australia to bring clients our world-class capabilities, rooted in data and technology to drive creativity, innovation and marketing transformation.”  

Theo Zisoglou, former Executive Director of the Brisbane agency, is taking on an expanded remit as Chief Media Officer. This is a newly created role that spans planning and investment across Essence in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. With more than 20 years’ experience leading media planning and investment, the role sees Zisoglou returning to his passion to deliver a progressive planning and investment approach that adds value for clients. He will remain based in Brisbane.

Zisoglou says: “Essence is a truly technology-led, product-driven media agency. This is an important moment in the agency’s evolution, and I’m excited to take on this leadership position and further strengthen our investment capabilities in Australia, delivering gold standard in quality, privacy and brand safety, backed by additional global digital and data expertise.”

Celia Wright will take on the newly created role of Chief Growth Officer, driving growth for the agency and clients, while also leading cultural change. Joining from Spark Foundry, where she was General Manager, Media, Wright will collaborate with the agency’s national teams to match agency people and skills with client needs, ensuring that the right capabilities, tools and products are deployed to deliver results for clients. She will also lead initiatives that support personal and professional growth for Essence people. 

Celia has more than 15 years’ experience in the media and marketing industry. After a highly successful client-side career at Commonwealth Bank, she also worked at WPP agencies Ikon and MediaCom as a strategic client lead. Within these roles, she ensured organisational excellence and maximised the performance of teams. 

Celia Wright says: “I’m delighted to be joining Essence and to be working with Pat once again, alongside the new leadership team. The opportunity to guide the growth of Essence’s people, operations and product is a thrilling one, and I look forward to helping the team to not only service our excellent range of keystone clients, but also ensuring this agency is equipped for continued success and operates in alignment with our bold vision.”

Pat Crowley, CEO of Essence Australia, says: “These three appointments are critical as we shape the new, expanded Essence in Australia, amplify the agency’s pioneering spirit and help clients win in the new economy. We have an absolute focus on digital transformation and the creation of products that enable us to create the next generation of media practice. Simon and Celia bring an injection of exceptional new talent that will complement the skill sets that already sit within the agency. Theo’s passion for the craft of investment makes him perfectly placed to take on this newly created role and play a bigger role in shaping this fundamental discipline in our agency.”

In Australia, Essence, which is part of GroupM, is a global data and measurement-driven media agency with over 250 people across three offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The agency is proud to partner with some of Australia’s leading brands, including Airbnb, Commonwealth Bank, Google, Isuzu, Ladbrokes, Lindt, Myer, Neds, nib, Snack Brands, and Tourism and Events Queensland.