Juniper Park\TBWA finds its new CCO

Graham Lang joins from Y&R South Africa to lead the agency's changing creative department.
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Juniper Park\TBWA has looked abroad to secure its new creative leadership, hiring Graham Lang as chief creative officer.

Lang was most recently CCO at Y&R South Africa and Africa, where he oversaw creative teams in six of the agency’s offices. He has also been part of teams that have won 30 Lions at Cannes, with eight coming during this year’s festival for campaigns including Surf Shack’s “Chasing The Dragon” and Johannesburg Zoo’s conservation projects.

Before his move to Africa, Lang was at RKCR/Y&R London, where he worked as global ECD for the agency’s Land Rover account. Prior to that, he was a creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi London.

Trade press in Africa first reported late last week that Lang would be resigning from Y&R. Yesterday, the agency announced it would be closing its office in Cape Town as it centred its efforts in the region around its Johannesburg office following Lang’s departure.

Jill Nykoliation, CEO of Juniper Park/TBWA, led a global search for the agency’s new creative leader with Chris Garbutt, CCO for TBWA Worldwide. Besides joining a leadership group that includes Nykoliation, chief strategy officer Mark Tomblin and managing director David Toto, Lang will also be part of the “global creative core,” a panel of creative leaders from across TBWA’s offices.

“He takes tremendous pride in the team aspect of creative, and he also strongly believes in our philosophy of disruption being rooted in strategic planning,” Nykoliation says of what made Lang stand out from the other candidates. “Those are both big parts of who we are. We obviously want best in class talent, but how they go about building that work was equally important to me.”

Nykoliation likens Lang’s hiring to when Tomblin first came to Canada when he joined Taxi from Leo Burnett London in 2013. She says, much like Tomblin, Lang’s hiring not only benefits the agency, but the creative community in Canada as whole.

It has been a tumultuous few months in Juniper Park’s creative department. In July, CCO Barry Quinn moved within the Omnicom network to become chief design officer for DDB North America, with fellow CCOs Terry Drummond and Alan Madill departing earlier this month to pursue new opportunities. Also this month, CDs Gerald Kugler and Rodger Eyre departed to join the creative team at Zulu Alpha Kilo, while senior art director Elma Karabegovic joined FCB Toronto in July.

Nykoliation says going from three CCOs to one will not necessitate a change in the structure of the creative department, which has also had Perry Essig added as ECD to lead work on the Capital Group and Nissan accounts.

“Our focus is not on going from three CCOs to one, it has always been on the talent here,” Nykoliation says. “As I’ve told everyone from the ECDs to juniors about him, they’re all excited. All of them are going to have a chance to work with a master, so the gratitude and excitement of being close to someone of this caliber and trained by him, their careers are about to change.”