by Herman Manson (@marklives) Chris Gotz, former co-chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, has returned to South Africa to join Old Friends Young Talent (OFYT) as its newly appointed national creative director. This comes as OFYT executive creative director and partner, Greg Burke, prepares to leave the agency and the country for France.

Gotz joined Ogilvy & Mather Chicago in September 2015 as its chief creative officer. He starts at OFYT as of Monday, 19 September 2016, and will also take an equity stake in the agency.

Old Friends Young Talent (OFYT) logoGary Leih, OFYT CEO, says he has known Gotz for many years, having worked together at Ogilvy; Leigh served as group managing director at Ogilvy South Africa during 2000–2005. Leih had heard through the industry grapevine that Gotz was planning to leave Chicago, and invited him to meet the OFYT team. Several weeks later, the deal had been struck, with Gotz taking over Burke’s equity in the business and joining the team.

Gotz will be based in Cape Town but will also work closely with the Johannesburg office. Brands he will be working on include Kia, Bidvest Car Rental and Auto Pedigree, as well as new business.

“Developing the industry’s young talent base”

In a statement released by the agency, Gotz says “OFYT is the perfect place for me to be. It’s growing fast, full of talented people and they have real intent when it comes to developing the industry’s young talent base, which is a personal priority for me. I’ve done nearly 20 years in big network agencies and, while it’s been very good for my career, it’s nice to be able to do my own thing, with old friends and some hugely exciting young talent.”

According to Leih, Gotz will join creative director, Kelly Putter, and strategy director, Jonty Fisher, in ensuring there is a succession plan in place inside the agency.

Gotz caused waves just after he left South Africa when he inferred that Loeries CEO Andrew Human interfered with and adjusted judges’ scores. He also criticised the awards show for accepting entries from the Middle East, believing it should be focused upon the continent of Africa. The allegations were later dismissed by the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA).


Herman MansonHerman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of He was the founding editor of media.toolbox (1998–2006) and Mobile.Works, and the co-founder of Brand magazine. He has served on the editorial boards of The Journal for Convergence, as well as of Fast Company South Africa. Winner of the 2011 Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year award, he was also a finalist twice in the Highway Africa Award for the Innovative Use of New Media in Africa (2003 and 2004). Over his 20-year-plus career, Herman has contributed to numerous journals and websites in South Africa and abroad, including the Mail & Guardian, .net, Intelligence, AdVantage, Men’s Health, Computer World and African Communications. He has consulted on web architecture to several financial institutions.

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