by Herman Manson (@marklives) We list the the creative people most read about on MarkLives during 2019 for our #BigReads2019 series.


TBWA logo and Luca Gallarelli

#1. Luca Gallarelli left Ogilvy for TBWA\SA

Luca Gallarelli, Ogilvy South Africa group MD, announced his resignation 17 years after he first joined the ad agency. He replaced Sean Donovan as TBWA\South Africa group CEO, effective 1 December 2019. The latter was promoted to TBWA\Asia president earlier this year.


Matthew Buckland

#2. Matthew Buckland passed away

Matthew Buckland — digital media entrepreneur, journalist and adman — died this year. Buckland ran Burn Media, the publishers of and, among others. He was also the founder of agency, Creative Spark, which he sold to M&C Saatchi in 2015.


Agency Leaders Inside Look 2018 collage

#3. #AgencyLeaders2018 Most Admired poll results

Our announcement of the most-admired agencies and agency leaders count among our most-trafficked stories every year.

Women of the Year

2018 MarkLives Agency Leaders Most Admired women in advertising

  • Winner: Monalisa Sibongile Zwambila, Riverbed founder & CEO
  • Runner-up: Fran Luckin, Grey Africa CCO
  • The content: Mariana O’Kelly, ex Ogilvy Johannesburg ECD

Most-admired creative leaders in South Africa

2018 MarkLives Agency Leaders Most Admired SA creative leaders

  • Winner: Alistair King, King James Group SA, founding creative partner
  • Runner-up: Xolisa Dyeshana, Joe Public United CCO
  • Contenders: Pepe Marais, Joe Public United GCCO, and Tseliso Rangaka, Ogilvy Cape Town ECD

Most-admired agency bosses in South Africa

2018 MarkLives Agency Leaders Most Admired SA agency bosses

  • Winner: James Barty, King James Group SA co-founder & CEO
  • Runner-up: Gareth Leck, Joe Public United co-founder & CEO
  • Contender: Veli Ngubane, Avatar Agency Group co-founder & group MD


Mathieu Plassard and Neo Makhele Ogilvy logo and Joanna Oosthuizen

#4. Ogilvy SA made various senior appointments

Neo Makhele was been promoted to chief strategy officer of Ogilvy SA, and Mathieu Plassard was appointed chief growth officer. Ogilvy SA also announced the promotion of Joanna Oosthuizen, its COO, to director PR & influence for Ogilvy’s EMEA region. In her new role, she’s based in London but remains active within Ogilvy SA.


M&C Saatchi Abel logo and Faheem Chaudhry

#5. Faheem Chaudry became M&C Saatchi Abel JHB managing partner

Faheem Chaudhry rejoined the M&C Saatchi Abel Group as managing partner of the Johannesburg agency, where he teamed up with the existing leadership team of GCCO Neo Mashigo, Joburg ECD Adam Weber and Joburg head of strategy Makosha Maja-Rasethaba.


MarkLives Young, Gifted & Killing It! 2019 in review

#6. Young, Gifted & Killing It!

Veli Ngubane’s extremely popular “Young, Gifted & Killing It” column continues to discover and profiles award-winning, kick-ass black creative talent in South Africa. Interviewed this year were Ernest Nkosi, Sibu Mabena, Nkululeko “Legend” Manqele, Amahle “Jaxx” Jaxa, David Tshabalala, Mashudu Modau, Nomaswazi Phumo, Farah Fortune, Tshepo Tumahole, Mimi Kalinda and Ayandamantombazane Mhlongo.


Publicis Communications logo and Odette van der Haar

#7. Odette van der Haar became Publicis Africa MD

Odette van der Haar joined Publicis Africa as MD, effective 1 September 2019, to strengthen the management team and build on the group’s recent growth and successes. Van der Haar has extensive industry experience and knowledge, having previously been J. Walter Thompson Johannesburrg CEO and Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) CEO.


WPP Liquid logo and Mike Middleton

#8. Paul Middleton became Liquid MD

Mike Middleton, ex-KFC CMO, joined the leadership team for Liquid, WPP’s new bespoke agency for Distell, alongside CEO Paul Jackson and CCO Fran Luckin.


Brenda KhumaloZanele Ntulini and Collective ID logo

#9. Brenda Khumalo left Collective ID, was replaced by Zanele Ntulini

Brenda Khumalo, Collective ID MD, left the ad agency. Collective ID subsequently announced the appointment of Zanele Ntulini as its new MD.


Mariana O'Kelly and Ogilvy logo slider Pete Case

#10. Mariana O’Kelly, Pete Case left Ogilvy SA

Ogilvy Johannesburg ECD, Mariana O’Kelly, left the South African agency in June 2019 to take up a new position in Ogilvy’s global operations in Chicago. There she serves as global ECD on all work for SC Johnson, the agency’s largest global client.

Pete Case, Ogilvy South Africa chief creative officer, resigned and left Ogilvy SA in early December 2019. Case merged Gloo, the digital agency he founded, with Ogilvy in 2014.


Kagiso Musi

#11. Kagiso Musi became Meta Media MD

Kagiso Musi joined Interpublic Group South Africa‘s newly formed media agency, Meta Media, as managing director.


Jerry Mpufane

#12. Jerry Mpufane joined SA Tourism

The M&C Saatchi Group announced the departure of its Johannesburg Group chairperson, Jerry Mpufane, who joined South African Tourism as hub head in the Americas.


Lebo Madiba and Ogilvy logo

#13. Lebo Madiba became head of Ogilvy PR

Ogilvy Johannesburg announced Lebo Madiba as its new managing partner: public relations and influence. She took over from Joanna Oosthuizen, who was promoted to Ogilvy SA chief operating officer in 2018 (and who’s since been promoted to a global role, based in the UK).


Ewoudt Cloete and Avatar logo

#14.  Ewoudt Cloete became Avatar chief digital officer

Avatar South Africa has announced the appointment of Dr Ewoudt Cloete as chief digital officer across the Avatar agency group. Cloete joined from Wunderman, where he was head of social media (organic, paid and earned).


Sue Napier and Wunderman Thompson South Africa logo

#15. Sue Napier became MD advertising for Wunderman Thompson SA

Sue Napier was appointed MD of the advertising division of the Wunderman Thompson Group (formerly Wunderman South Africa) in SA, effective October 2019. This national role includes the management and overseeing of the 200 team members across the Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban offices.


John Davenport

#16. John Davenport became Havas South Africa CCO

John Davenport joined Havas South Africa as its new chief creative officer.


Absolut logo and Charl Bassil

#17. Profiling Charl Bassil

Charl Bassil recently relocated to Stockholm, Sweden, to take up the position of vice-president of global marketing for premium vodka brand, Absolut. Previously, he was marketing director of Pernod Ricard SA for nearly six years after being at SABMiller for over a decade.


Amanda Lambe and Jabulani Sigege - new Hero leadership

#18. Amanda Lambe became MD at Hero, Jabulani Sigege ECD

Amanda Lambe was promoted to MD at Hero and working closely with her is Jabulani Sigege, who joined Hero as its ECD.

See also

Updated at 10.30am on 13 December 2019.


Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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