EXCLUSIVE: Rob McLennan exits King James II, Jenner takes the helm
by Herman Manson (@marklives) The creative founding partner of King James the Second (KJII), Rob McLennan, will be leaving the agency in September 2018. His creative partner, Graeme Jenner, takes over as executive creative director of the Johannesburg-based agency, which is part of the King James Group. Jenner will be working closely with recently appointed managing director, Lesego Kotane, to take the agency forward.
McLennan, who won’t be leaving advertising, plans on pursuing a number of passion projects of his own. This includes a stake in a local beer brewery and a global partnership that will see him continue consulting for brand clients.
According to him, he wants to spend his remaining working years doing exactly the kind of work he wants and that, while he loves creating advertising, running an agency is an altogether more-difficult proposition, and one he would prefer to leave to others to manage.
McLennan also feels the time is right to hand the reins to Jenner as the agency has recovered from the trauma of Pick n Pay moving its retail marketing from KJII to King James in Cape Town (which already handles the brand marketing) — a stressful episode which led to several rounds of retrenchments — thanks to a number of new client wins, and is also doing well creatively (it picked up seven statues at The Loeries this year).
According to Alistair King, co-founder and chief creative officer of King James Group, McLennan’s departure allows the agency to up the pace on its restructuring process as it moves towards full integration, a process the CT agency has already completed. This will see a number of King James Group’s Johannesburg agencies, including KJII, King James Digital, Hammer and Atmosphere, collapse their creative departments into a single unit.*
Mclennan, Jenner and King James Group launched KJII in March 2013; the two had both recently left Net#work BBDO after that agency lost the Nedbank account to Joe Public. Three weeks after launching, the new agency picked up its first client after pitching against FCB on the Altech Autopage business — and winning. Its first campaign aired three weeks later. Mclennan describes the Altech win as one of his career highlights, as is the creative work he’s done for Allan Gray and PnP.
During McLennan’s tenure, the agency has grown from five to around a hundred people today.
*Updated at 4.26pm on 21 August 2018 to reflect creative departments only are being collapsed into a single unit.
Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of MarkLives.com.
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