Arrivals & Departures: PHD Group goes in-house for leadership hires

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Auckland, today: PHD Group, part of Omnicom Media Group, has appointed four of its senior management team to new leadership roles within its two agencies, PHD and Spark PR & Activate.

The appointments follow a successful first half, which saw PHD named Media Agency of the Year 2018 at the Beacon Awards and ceo Louise Bond named a winner of Campaign Asia’s Women Leading Change awards.

  • PHD’s managing director of five years, Nikki Grafton, who joined the agency in 2000, has been appointed to the newly created PHD Group position of people and culture director; a move that will further strengthen the agency’s investment in existing and future talent.
  • Lee-Ann Morris will replace Grafton as managing director of PHD, having held a general management position since 2016, which included covering some of Grafton’s responsibilities during her maternity leave. During that time Morris was integral to the agency’s success in bringing on board several new business accounts, including Spark New Zealand.
  • Working alongside Morris is Christophe Spencer who has been promoted from GM Digital to PHD’s chief technology officer as part of PHD’s ambition to better focus the agency’s specialist digital offering, and more rapidly move towards areas such as marketing automation. It is also reflective of digital becoming a part of everyone’s remit in the agency.
  • Spark PR and Activate’s head, Dallas Gurney, rounds off the leadership advancements with his new appointment as the content, PR and activation agency’s managing director.

Commenting on the appointments, Louise Bond said, “I am absolutely delighted to announce these appointments and it is testament to PHD’s talent pool that we have hired from within our agency Group.

“PHD Group is continually expanding and diversifying and currently employees over 130 staff,” she said. “Nikki’s unparalleled expertise in attracting, leading and developing a team of such scale will ensure we’re delivering industry-best talent to clients, while providing our people the best possible career opportunities within a top-notch agency culture.

“Lee-Ann and Christophe are both smart, passionate and trusted leaders with standout capabilities in terms of driving client and agency business results. Lee has an unwavering commitment to world-class client service and Christophe has delivered prolific innovation of PHD’s digital product and significant business growth over the past year.

“Dallas has a track record of creating growth of business units and Spark PR & Activate is benefitting from the same. Moreover, the content expertise Dallas has brought to the business is delivering our clients fresh new thinking and smart through the line opportunities.”

The rest of the senior management team are PHD Group strategy and measurement director Simon Bird; PHD Group operations director Penny Harvie, and Omnicom Media Group chief investment officer, Scott Keddie.

About PHD
PHD is known globally as an innovator in communications planning and buying across broadcast, print, digital, mobile, social and emerging media, reflected in the network ranking 2nd most awarded network in the world, according to the Gunn Media 100 report – a benchmark of the most creatively awarded agencies and networks.

PHD New Zealand was also named the Communications Council Media Agency of the Year 2018 and Media Network of the Year at Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity 2017.

PHD has over 4000 staff working in over 80 offices worldwide, having been founded in London in 1990 as the first planning-led media agency. Built on a culture of thought leadership, innovation and creativity, with a philosophy of “Finding a Better Way”, PHD is today one of the world’s fastest growing media and communication agency networks.

The PHD network is part of the Omnicom Media Group (, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).

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