by Herman Manson (@MarkLives) Elouise Kelly, Ogilvy Johannesburg managing director, is leaving the adverting agency at the end of May 2020 to take up a new position outside the ad industry. Kelly, who joined Ogilvy Joburg in April 2018, previously served as SABC head of marketing.

“Not an easy choice”

“I’ve learnt a lot during my time at Ogilvy,” says Kelly in a statement released by the agency. “Leaving has not been not an easy choice. Ogilvy has an amazing network of talent which continues to deliver great work. I’m fortunate to have been a part of the magic. I’m excited to be returning to the media and entertainment industry and looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Tracey Edwards, Ogilvy SA chief delivery officer, will serve as acting MD, pending a permanent appointment.

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In an interview with MarkLives, Kelly said that she’d hoped to stay at Ogilvy for at least five years to add maximum value but “life is what happens while you make other plans”. A phone call led to a broader discussion and eventually her decision to join a new organisation.

New role

The new position (and company) is yet to be revealed but she describes it as an industry she’s familiar with and that’s undergone a process of digital transformation, which she finds interesting. Her new role will also take her into the the rest of Africa, something she’s missed doing.

Her highlights at Ogilvy Joburg include assisting with the agency’s digital transformation, and product and innovation initiatives, as well as finding and putting in place the right people in key positions. She says her key takeaway from her agency-side time is that passion drives everything — and how visible it can be when it’s lacking, both in the work and in client/agency relationships. She describes her career as one driven by passion, and that she’s enjoyed being surrounded by such creative spirit.

Kelly joins a long list of recent departures from Ogilvy, including: Tseliso Rangaka, Ogilvy Cape Town chief creative officer, who left in February 2020 to become FCB Joburg and Hellocomputer Johannesburg group CCO; Alistair Mokoena, Ogilvy SA CEO, who left in January 2020 to become Google South Africa country director; Luca Gallarelli, Ogilvy SA group MD, who left in 2019 to join TBWA\South Africa as GCEO; Joanna Oosthuizen, Ogilvy SA COO, who left SA end of last year to take up a global position as director public relations & influence for Ogilvy’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region; Pete Case, Ogilvy SA CCO, who also left at the end of 2019; and Mariana O’Kelly, Ogilvy Johannesburg ECD, who in June 2019 also joined Ogilvy’s global operations in Chicago.

Business is cyclical

According to Kelly, business is cyclical, with people exiting and entering business all the time. She was with the agency during a time when a very strong team made a significant contribution to the business and industry, and these achievements in turn set them up for new opportunities.

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