Commonwealth//McCann Replaces Departed Global EVP/Head of Strategy for Chevy

By Patrick Coffee 

Several months after Commonwealth//McCann’s EVP/global director of strategy and research left, the agency has promoted a new executive to lead the Chevy account. The organization looked internally for candidates and found one in Ash Farr , who most recently served as national CEO of McCann Australia. (You know, Dumb Ways to Die.)

He will move to Detroit and direct strategy for Chevrolet starting on January 1 2016.

Commonwealth chairman/CEO Bill Kolb describes Farr as “that rare breed of strategist who has not only helped build a wide variety of major brands, but has led McCann Australia helping transform it into the country’s most awarded agency in 2013 with recognition for creativity, digital innovation and strategic effectiveness.” He adds, “His experience and perspective fit with our team’s focus as we continue to strengthen Chevrolet’s position as one of the world’s great brands.”

The praise continues with global CSO Suzanne Powers writing, “Ash is a true globalist with the strategic acumen and experience to navigate across a myriad of platforms and geographies.”

Farr spent almost exactly three years atop the Australian org, during which time he worked with clients ranging from Ford to Nestle and the team won an assortment of awards. Before earning the chief executive title, he served in planning roles at shops including Y&R Sydney and Melbourne-based indie agency SMART. Farr joined McCann in late 2011 as an MD/planning director and got the promotion one year later.

In March, Chevy moved the Silverado account from Leo Burnett back to Commonwealth one month after the latter hired Chris Balicki to run its Detroit headquarters as managing director of Chevy North America. He’d been in charge of the Lowe General Motors team for less than a year when Cadillac sent its business to Publicis and IPG folded the GM Rogue unit.

Farr’s predecessor, who was hired this January after spending four years as global planning director at J. Walter Thompson New York, left the McCann organization after an incident that we will not describe or link to here became a gossip item in a certain New York rag. He spent approximately three months on the job.

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