Dentsu Creative AU appoints Avish Gordhan and Mandie Van Der Merwe as joint Chief Creative Officers

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Dentsu Creative Australia has appointed internationally recognised creative team, Avish Gordhan and Mandie van der Merwe, as the business’ first Chief Creative Officers. Bringing over two decades of global experience, they will report into Dentsu Creative Australia and New Zealand CEO Kirsty Muddle. 

The team, currently Executive Creative Directors at M&C Saatchi Sydney, has worked on iconic campaigns such as Tourism Australia’s ‘MateSong’ and Go Gentle Australia’s ‘Stop the Horror’. Their work has been recognised more than 200 times at the biggest award shows, including D&AD, Cannes Lions, The One Show, Clios and Spikes and are one of the few creative teams in Australia to win a WEBBY Award. They have also played key roles benefiting the broader industry, with van Der Merwe serving two terms as national head of AWARD School helping to guide the next wave of creative talent in Australia, while Gordhan is one of the founders of #OnlyOneInTheRoom, launched to achieve more culturally diverse and inclusive advertising industry. Van der Merwe was the recipient of AdNews’ ‘Emerging Leader of the Year’, the B&T ‘Women in Media’ (Creative) Award and the B&T’s ‘Best of the Best Award’ in 2021. 

Kirsty Muddle, Dentsu Creative Australian & New Zealand CEO, said, “Mandie & Avish shape what’s now and what’s next. They’re born leaders with deeply held beliefs that drive their behaviours. They want to do work that has never been done before, stuff that shapes society, creates culture and invents the future. They also can see things from all angles, be it CXM, Earned Attention, Entertainment or Media, and have the credentials that prove it. They’ve invested heavily into the growth and development of the industry and the people in it. It’s a great example of Sanpo Yoshi, our foundational belief.” 

Fred Levron, Dentsu Creative Global Chief Creative Officer, said, “Clients are looking to differentiate their brands in new and meaningful ways. To help them achieve this and navigate the modern world our creative leadership needs to embody all the principles of Modern Creativity, able to deliver ideas that are big enough to live anywhere, bold enough to chart new executional territory and rich enough to connect personally with millions. Avish and Mandie are exactly that. I’m thrilled to see them joining our Dentsu Creative Australian Team.” 

Mandie van der Merwe, said “I’m truly honoured to lead the creative offering and be part of this incredible team. It took just one chat with Kirsty and Fred and we were hooked. An agency that centralises creativity and puts it at the heart of everything is a pretty difficult thing to ignore as a creative being.” 

Avish Gordhan added that they were “very grateful for the opportunity M&C Saatchi gave us and are really proud of the team we helped build. At the same time, it is hard not to feel a bit giddy by the possibilities of Dentsu Creative and the agency’s vision of building brands through entertainment, culture and content. And the chance to be part of Dentsu’s Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway, and learn about the oldest living culture’s approach to creative thinking, is really exciting.” 

Van der Merwe and Gordhan will join Denstu Creative’s leadership team in October, and work alongside Sarah McGregor and Anne Boothroyd as Executive Creative Directors, Gayle While, Chief Client Officer, Tim Powell, Chief PR Officer and David Halter, Chief Strategy Officer. They’ll also play a role in delivering Creativity Everywhere at Dentsu. 

Dentsu Creative Sydney won a Bronze Lion for its ‘Disease Dilemmas’ campaign for the Garvan Institute in June and the agency was also ranked by Campaign Brief number four on its top 10 agency of the year rankings. 


For further information please contact: 

Miranda Ward
Senior Communications Manager 
Dentsu Creative Australia