Ben Skelsey comments on departure from IPG’s Huge

Ben Skelsey steps down as Australian managing director at Interpublic Group (IPG)'s Huge

Skelsey’s decision follows the departure of former Huge CEO Mat Baxter, who spent 14 years with IPG.

Ben Skelsey has confirmed he will be stepping down as Australian managing director of Huge, the Interpublic Group (IPG)-owned digital and design agency, prompting questions about the future of the outfit that launched in Australia at the start of 2023.

Skelsey’s decision follows last month’s news that Mat Baxter, then CEO of Huge, would be departing after 14 years with Interpublic in various roles – including global CEO at Initiative (based in New York), global chief strategy and creative officer for IPG in New York, and CEO of UM in Sydney – because he was returning to Australia. Baxter stated his return home was for “family reasons.”

Lisa De Bonis was named as Baxter’s replacement as CEO of Huge, promoted from her position as chief product officer.

See also: Ad industry welcomes home Mat Baxter as he departs IPG after 14 years

Skelsey wrote on LinkedIn: “Despite an extremely strong pull to move overseas, you’re stuck with me Australia.

“Farewell Huge. A company filled with brilliant minds and one that is genuinely trying to do something different; I’m sad to leave my friends and global community, but magenta will go forth strong under Lisa De Bonis, someone I’m lucky to call a colleague, a mentor and a friend.

“Was hoping for a break but it looks like that may not materialise like I wanted, I’ll be helping some fellow marketers out in the interim before something larger to sink my teeth into.”

Skelsey returned to Melbourne at the start of last year to take up the post as Australian MD for Huge’s launch in the region, previously leading the Huge office in Singapore. 

At the time, Baxter and Skelsey went to market with the bold offering of “Creative Growth Acceleration.

The offering promised to remodel the traditional approach to growth for the new era of business, allowing organisations to grow sustainably and purposefully. And unusually, it spruiked it was doing so entirely remotely.

Baxter said at the time of the Australian launch: “Our remote structure allows us to tap into the best global talent and bring the right team to each client, and our productised approach gives a no-nonsense way for Australian brands to get what they need and make huge moves.”

He also told Danielle Long for The Drum: “Let’s face it, the current model the industry has is broken.

“There hasn’t been a new model that’s been proffered for our business or our industry ever. We’ve been operating in the same mode of operation for decades and decades and decades.”

With the duo’s exit, it’s unclear whether Huge will still have a presence in the local market.

Top Image: Ben Skelsey

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