NEW YORK JWT worldwide chief creative officer Craig Davis is leaving the agency next year to return to his native Australia, JWT worldwide CEO Bob Jeffrey informed staffers today in an internal e-mail.
Until then, the London-based Davis will remain with the agency to "ensure a smooth transition," Jeffrey wrote, in his e-mail. JWT intends to fill the post.
"Craig and the executive management team remain focused on the tasks at hand, delivering breakthrough work for our clients. For right now, we need to remain focused as ever on best-in-class ideas and executions," added Jeffrey.
Davis assumed the then new post of worldwide CCO in January 2005, after a year of leading JWT's creative efforts across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Before JWT, Davis was a top creative at Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi in Singapore.
Jeffrey characterized Davis' decision as a personal one and said he had been discussing it with Davis since last year. "It wasn't until very recently that Craig and [his wife] came to the conclusion that they wanted to return to Sydney to raise their children near their family, after being away from Sydney for more than 10 years."
Jeffrey credited Davis for raising JWT's creative reputation, noting that the agency won 39 Lions at Cannes this year en route to becoming the fourth most-awarded network at the festival. He also praised internal initiatives led by Davis, including the creation of a worldwide creative council and a global creative challenge. In addition, Davis was instrumental in recruiting new creative leaders around the world and played a leading role in the agency's successful pitch for global creative duties on HSBC in 2004. At that time, he served as JWT's CCO for the EMEA region.
"We have Craig to thank for four years of impressive new business growth, strong talent acquisition and a shift in overall creative reputation," Jeffrey added. "None of this would have been possible without his dedication, passion and leadership."