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BBDO SA has announced the promotion of Net#work BBDO’s managing director Boniswa Pezisa to Group CEO.  Stepping into her sizable MD shoes is current deputy managing director Gau Narayanan, who will assume the role of MD of Net#work BBDO as of this month.

BBDO SA executive chairman Keith Shipley says Pezisa, who now takes on the role of BBDO Group CEO, has been with the agency for just short of twenty-one years. “Mike Schalit and I have worked alongside Boniswa since the beginning and it’s been under her leadership that Net#work has enjoyed its recent surge of success. Her unrelenting approach to a challenge, incredible skill with people and general joie de vivre are all elements that helped build the foundation of the agency,” says Shipley.

Pezisa is an active and well respected icon of the industry, says Shipley. In addition to the BBDO responsibilities she is the deputy chairperson of the Association for Communication & Advertising (ACA), sits on the Advertising Standards Consumer Complaints Committee of the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa [ASASA] and is the past chairperson of the Loeries Awards Company. Pezisa was also one of the founding directors of The Dreamfields Project, sat on the board of Common Purpose SA and is still a board member of the Cape Town Ballet Competition which strives to convert ballet from Cinderella dance code for the few to a mass appeal dance code.

The promotion of Narayanan to managing director heralds a new era for the agency. Says Shipley, “We’re incredibly fortunate to have someone of Gau’s calibre leading our team in Johannesburg. Not only does he boast a wealth of experience internationally, but he’s known for his ability to shake up creative and strategic thinking – a skill that’s delivered time and again over his tenure in South Africa to date.”

Since joining from AMV BBDO London at the end of 2014, Narayanan has also focused his attention on developing the BBDO network across East and West Africa. “We’ve collected several awards over the past twelve months which are testament to the groundwork that Gau has laid across the region – this work will continue unabated and be driven at a senior management level across the agency and group,” says Shipley.

Over the past eighteen months with Narayanan and Pezisa at the helm, Net#work BBDO has achieved great success.  This includes winning 27 awards in both effectiveness and creativity in local and global awards. New business wins include some iconic accounts like The South African National Lottery, Virgin Money relaunch and Guinness across Africa.

Pezisa says, “I am very excited to take on the group role – and I leave my position in the hands of our secret weapon, Gau. The management team across both agencies is the strongest we have had in years and we have seen the proof in the creative output and new business wins in recent months. Gau’s experience has already been invaluable in developing our account management and strategic approach to industry leading standards and this will intensify with his direct leadership. There is now a great balance of youth and experience across both agencies, which our clients have responded well to.”

Narayanan and Pezisa assume their new roles in May 2016, both based at the group’s Dunkeld West offices in Johannesburg.

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