by Herman Manson (@marklives) Black River FC remains in the game and will announce the appointment of a new executive creative director in the near future, says managing director, Janine Allem. This follows news of the resignation of co-founder and ECD, Ahmed Tilly, who will be joining FCB Joburg as joint chief creative officer, alongside Jonathan Deeb, in November 2016.

Clients are committed

Allem acknowledges that Tilly’s departure has created uncertainty in the market about what the future holds for the agency. However, its clients have all made a commitment to the agency to see through the transition between creative leaders alongside the agency.

Staff had been aware of Tilly’s possible departure for three months. Once his final decision had been made, Tilly and Allem jointly informed staff and then spent the day talking to clients, which include Mazda South Africa, MINI (currently out to pitch, as it is every three years; Black River FC has held the business for nine years), several Softbev brands, Redd’s, all M-Net-owned channels except for KykNet, and Wonga. Allem has had subsequent follow-up meetings with clients to reassure them and update them on progress at the agency.

Announcement to follow soon

The agency only started its formal interview process to replace Tilly after he had made his final decision. According to Allem, an announcement will follow soon and that she is happy with the calibre of people applying for the position. She says no other staff resignations have taken place at the agency, which employs 28 people, over the past three months.

The agency will continue top build upon the creative legacy left by Tilly, she says, and its culture will remain intact. It continues to be invited onto pitch lists.


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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