DDB S’pore hunts for planning head as David Tang and Neil Johnson step back from pitching

DDB Singapore is looking for a head of planning to run the agency’s pitching operation as long-time CEO David Tang and head of creative Neil Johnson step back after 17 years running new business.

The agency has launched an irreverent online recruitment campaign headed by a two-head llama gif to represent Tang and Johnson, who the ad says will no longer to involved in pitching to focus on existing clients.

DDB Llama

In the ad, which has been posted on DDB’s blog, a jointly signed memo declares that after 593 pitches contested together, Tang and Johnson were looking for a “maverick thinker, an evangelical pitcher, an obsessive hunter of insights, and an all-round playmaker” to replace them.

“We’ve argued, fought, planned, plotted, agreed, won and lost together. And now we’ve decided to call it quits together. We’re no longer going to plan new business pitches,” the ad reads. “Instead we’re going to focus single-mindedly on the growing list of very active DDB Group clients.”

DDB Singapore’s head of planning will be expected to compete for at least 10 pitches a year, groom young talent, and “do some very brave and effective work for serious clients,” reads the ad.

It clarifies, however, that Tang and Johnson, who have worked at DDB Singapore for more than 30 years combined, will continue to play an influential role in business development.

“Brace yourself to feed the creative ambition and strategic appetite of two hungry and hard-driving Heads who will be around for a while. It isn’t time to take it easy at DDB yet. And it never will be.”

In response to a question from Mumbrella on how Tang and Johnson would handle relinquishing control of a pitch machine they have led for so long, Tang said: “We’re drawn to pitches like boys to a candy store. We’ll try to let go but we’ll always be tempted.”

“Chances are, we’ll be sneaking behind the chaps coaxing a better idea out of the pitch! We do love working the work – we’ re practitioners. We’ll have to learn to be the coach, and not the striker. We’ll save ourselves for the big games.”

The new planning head is to work alongside Carlos Palacios, the agency’s head of planning since 2011, who is to focus on regional business.


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