Fran Clayton leaves DDB Sydney for Ogilvy AUNZ CSO role

DDB Group Sydney CEO Sheryl Marjoram said: “it’s a massive role and we could not be happier for her or prouder of her.”

DDB Sydney’s chief strategy officer Fran Clayton has left the agency after almost 10 years to become AUNZ CSO at Ogilvy, Mediaweek can reveal.

In an email to staff seen by Mediaweek, DDB Group Sydney CEO Sheryl Marjoram said, “it’s a massive role and we could not be happier for her or prouder of her.”

“It’s safe to say she will be missed and there will be a giant Fran shaped hole in our hearts for some time to come. Unusually and due to a competitive conflict, we have had to put Fran on gardening leave immediately. that means while she is in our employ until 21st June, she will not be working.

“We will have finalised client communications by the end of the day.”

DDB Sydney works with McDonald’s, while one of Ogilvy’s key accounts is KFC. Ogilvy has been contacted for comment. Clayton replaces Ryan O’Connell, who left at the start of the year after more than a decade at the agency to start his own shop, jnr.

In a statement to Mediaweek, Marjoram added: “We could not be more thrilled for Fran in this new, larger role at Ogilvy … She did a brilliant job at DDB and we’re incredibly proud.

“We have begun the recruitment process for our new chief strategy officer, so stay tuned.”

While DDB Sydney hunts for Clayton’s replacement, managing director of strategy and innovation Leif Stromnes will lead the strategy team. Marjoram said the McDonald’s account, which the agency has held for over 50 years, will have additional strategy support in sister agency adam&eve’s chief strategy officer, Martin Beverley

Clayton first joined DDB in 2013, before she left in 2018 to join McCann Australia with then-DDB CEO Nic Taylor. Taylor, now CEO of the LEGO agency, moved overseas to join DDB bespoke agency C14torce at the end of 2019, while Clayton returned to DDB at the start of 2020.

In the email to staff sent this afternoon, Marjoram added that after Clayton’s “little ‘gap year’ away”, she “carried on as she always had, living in the trenches with the Macca’s team over the past year, seeing all the hard work pay off with great work happening for ‘Big Mac,’ ‘McCafe,’ and ‘Family.'”

Marjoram continued: “If there’s anything I’ve learnt about this industry and the world we’re living in, it’s that change is the constant. Of course, it comes in all shapes and sizes and it’s true that when it relates to our people, we often find it the hardest.

“DDB continues to be a place that keeps its talent well past the ‘normal’ life cycle. It feels like every month we are celebrating a five, ten, fifteen, twenty, and twenty plus year stint. We also have our unfair share of boomerangs. Fun fact: Fran is both a boomerang and an almost ten year veteran.”

DDB Group AUNZ CEO Andrew Little and Stromnes have both been with the agency for more than 20 years, while Sydney ECD Matt Chandler marked 10 years with the business this week.

In her stints at the agency, Clayton has worked across every major client, including Volkswagen – she worked on Naked Ute, which eight years on “still inspires VGA to do great work,” Marjoram said – Westpac, and McDonald’s. Over the past week, DDB Sydney has revived the iconic Big Mac jingle for Macca’s, and launched RooBadge for Volkswagen, an innovative car badge to prevent kangaroo deaths.

Clayton’s departure follows that of Davy Rennie, who recently left DDB Group to become CEO of Publicis’ Digitas and Balance after running DDB Group’s digital arm, Tribal.

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