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Prodigal planner returns from the Orient for senior Y&R role

When Colenso BBDO’s head of planning James Hurman decided to expand his horizons and take a role as planning partner at Ogilvy Shangahi, he said he’d probably be back in the homeland eventually and was committed to sending his kids to school in New Zealand. But he's returned much sooner than expected, with the bearded one cutting short his Oriental OE to take up the role of managing director at Y&R, where he will be working alongside one of his old cohorts Josh Moore. 

When we last talked with Hurman a few months ago, he said he was loving the challenge of working in Shanghai as it was pretty much the exact opposite of New Zealand, both in terms of the sophistication of the marketing and advertising market and day-to-day life, and that he would only be back if the right senior job came up. And it obviously has. 

Neither Moore or Hurman could be contacted this morning, but we believe there will be savouries galore at Y&R this afternoon because it's his first day today. And while the news of Jon Ramage’s departure from the chief executive role came out last week, Hurman's hiring is thought to be a consequence of that decision, not the other way around. 

In a way, Moore and Hurman are going back to the start. They first met at Generator Bates, which was part of the Y&R network, where their crowning glory was helping to come up with the idea for Vodafone’s Best Mates. They also worked together at Publicis Mojo. 

In Moore’s last job at US Sydney he managed to grow the agency from four to 45 people in very quick time, and the signs are also pointing towards the start of a turnaround for Y&R, with some good campaigns, a few new business wins, some good hires and, in the future, a new and hopefully more creatively inspiring office next to Shed 5 in the centre of Auckland.  

GPY&R in Australia is also back in form, winning the most Cannes Lions of any Aussie agency at this year's festival, and Y&R's global chief creative man Tony Granger is thought to have taken an interest in trying to replicate that in New Zealand. In fact, he was in the country recently, which is something of a rarity for many of the chief creative officers within the other big global networks. 

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