Ensemble Cast: Can New Management Make Sense of the Agency’s Eclectic Talents?

May 26, 2016 | Share this article

Alex Hayes sat down with new bosses Melissa Fein and Michael Stanford to find out what their plans are for what has been one of the most respected agencies in the country.

When I ask Ensemble’s Melissa Fein what her hopes are for the agency it’s clear she’s not shooting low – it is to “globalise the Ensemble brand”.

That’s an ambitious ask for an agency which is seen, from the outside at least, as being in something of a state of flux since the sudden axing of its founders, CEO Justin Ricketts and managing director Tim Hodgson, in one of the first acts by newly-minted minted IPG Mediabrands CEO Danny Bass.

At the same time Bass named his former GroupM colleague, Fein, as the new agency boss. Fein, who had been running Network Ten’s successful branded content division Generate since leaving Mindshare in 2014, in turn raided her former employer to take Generate’s creative director Michael Stanford as her managing director. More senior appointments are expected to be announced soon.

“For me the decision to come to an agency like Ensemble was interesting,” Fein admits. “I’ve spent time at media agencies [Mindshare, Ignite] and a network [Ten] which has gone through a lot of change.

“We’ve been dealing with creative and media agencies and at a senior level at networks you are given access to senior clients. I think we always had some form of discussion with Ensemble through that period, but I think what was most interesting was that proposition around integrated thinking and ideation, and Ensemble sits in that centrepiece between a media and creative agency.”

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