FCB boss Paul Shale confirms departure as advertising shuffle continues

In one of the most astounding periods of executive shuffling in the recent history of advertising, another CEO at a major agency will be ending his tenure.

This morning, staff were informed that FCB boss Paul Shale would be stepping away from his role.

Shale joined the agency approximately three years ago, brought in to steady the ship after a tumultuous period at the firm.

FCB Worldwide CEO Carter Murray said the agency had begun a global search for a replacement.

“I want to thank Paul for his partnership and all that he’s done in the last three years to help fuel the success of our New Zealand office,” Murray said.

“He is an all-around good person and we wish him all the best in his next chapter.”

Shale will be with the agency until the beginning of June.

In his tenure at FCB, the agency had a number of new business wins across both Auckland and Wellington, including Waka Kotahi, the Electoral Commission, NZ Police, WorkSafe NZ, and Kraft Heinz-Wattie.

However, the agency also missed out on a few big wins after making it onto the final pitch list of the New World account.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with some fantastic people and I’m looking forward to applying learnings from this role to make a difference in a new opportunity,” Shale said.

FCB has long been one of the biggest agencies in the country, earning an especially strong reputation for its government work.

Shale took over the agency after a number of high-profile departures.

He was something of a left-field appointment, having landed the role off the back of a number of entrepreneurial pursuits.

Shale wouldn’t confirm his next move, saying only that he was weighing up a few options at the moment.

Asked about the intense period of executive change across the industry, Shale told the Herald that Covid-19 “put a bottle on everything”.

While most leaders would be hesitant to leave a business in the middle of a pandemic, Shale says a steady return to normality means that many executives are now weighing up their options.

Recent changes in the advertising include Justin Mowday and Damon Stapleton departing DDB, Mark Cochrane being appointed as the new boss of Saatchi & Saatchi, Angela Watson as managing director of Colenso BBDO, Strahan Wallis as CEO of the Clemenger Group, former FCB chief creative officer Tony Clewett’s move to Federation and the departure of Stanley St chief creative officer Regan Grafton for Culture & Theory.

There will no doubt be a great deal of interest in the local market, among senior staff who are looking to take the next step in their career.

FCB could also be tempted to look internally at long-serving staff, who have stayed with the agency through the good times and the bad.

One name suggested by sources as a possible replacement for Shale was that of current managing director Toby Sellers, who has been with the agency for more than a decade.

If he does put up his hand, he will, however, face strong competition from both New Zealanders and international applicants.

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