DDB Group taps Matty Burton & Gary Steele

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AUCKLAND, Today: DDB Group Aotearoa NZ has appointed internationally recognised creative leader Matty Burton as its first group chief creative officer.

In the newly created role, Burton will drive the creative output across the group’s four agencies – DDB, Track, Tribal and Mango.

With 20 years’ creative agency experience, Burton joins from Google where he led their Asia-Pacific innovation team from Sydney. Prior to that, he co-founded the Special Group’s Australian offices, spent time at Droga5 in New York and led TBWA in Australia.

Although an Australian at heart, Burton is no stranger to Aotearoa. Earlier in his career, he was creative group head at Saatchi & Saatchi NZ and his wife is a “proud Kiwi”. 

Burton said: “The chance to lead the creative team within DDB Group, an agency group that is home to the market’s leading creative, digital, customer experience and PR agencies, is an incredibly exciting prospect.

“I am excited to be ‘coming home’ to an agency with creativity at its core.


“I am excited to be ‘coming home’ to an agency with creativity at its core.”

“Working at Google as their APAC Creative Chief was an incredible experience and a career highlight but there’s a difference between working somewhere where creativity is one part of the process, versus an environment where creativity is infused at every step of the journey.”

DDB Group ceo Priya Patel said: “Matty has exactly the right mix of creative firepower, innovation and leadership the group has been looking for.

“His diverse multidisciplinary experience as a creative leader is fairly unique and we believe that with his skills and the existing capability in our building, we’ll be unstoppable.

“We’re so excited about his obvious talent in both the creative and innovation space, and the freshness of thinking he’ll bring to our work. Our ambition as a group remains to drive growth for our client partners through exceptional creativity, and we believe we are uniquely placed to bring that to life across the total brand experience.”

Patel has also announced that DDB Aotearoa NZ ECD Gary Steele has been promoted to chief creative officer at DDB, working with Burton “to continue to drive the creative excellence of the agency”.


“With Gary and Matty at the helm of NZ’s largest creative department, supported by some of best multidisciplinary marketing talent, we believe DDB Group will continue to bring world class, end-to-end brand experience capability that drives local growth and gets global recognition.”

Patel said: “Gary had a proven track record when he arrived in New Zealand in 2019 with accolades including Singapore’s Most Influential CD four years in a row. Currently ranked #1 ECD in the world on Best Ads Global Rankings, he has helped DDB reach new heights of success, including two Axis Agency of the Year titles, Campaign Agency of the Year and Award Agency of the Year.

Steele said: “Creative people only want two things – to work in a fantastic place where creativity is part of the DNA and to work with talented people.

“I have been fortunate enough to have both of those here at DDB. Then you add in Matty, one of the most talented and humble people I have ever met. It can only get better and I am looking forward to all the great things we will do together.”

Patel: “Gary has made an outstanding contribution over the past two years within DDB.

“He has been a driving force behind some of the agency’s most famous and innovative work. Most importantly, he is a wonderful human who deserves recognition.

“With Gary and Matty at the helm of New Zealand’s largest creative department, supported by some of the market’s best multidisciplinary marketing talent, we believe DDB Group will continue to bring world class, end-to-end brand experience capability that drives local growth and gets global recognition.”


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