David Kolbusz to leave Droga5 – is this another sign of adland’s creative brain drain?

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Droga5 London: it lost the Barclaycard account to BBH and now high profile CCO David Kolbusz (below) is leaving for pastures new. He is being replaced by Shelley Smoller.

Kolbusz said: “I look back on my time at Droga5 with an enormous amount of fondness and gratitude. Six or so years ago, David entrusted me with the task of transforming the creative fortunes of the London brand and – alongside more talented people than I could possibly name – we gave it our best shot.

“I was given more support and encouragement than anyone in my position could possibly wish for and I hope David and the wider Droga crew are as happy with the results as I am. The long-term strategy was to keep hiring people with the taste and talent to continue making great work irrespective of who left the building and I’m confident that in my absence the UK office will keep thriving.”

D5 says: “David is returning Stateside for a new venture which, for contractual reasons, cannot be revealed at present but will be announced in the forthcoming weeks.” So maybe Kolbusz is staying within the Accenture Interactive fold.

It isn’t the greatest surprise: Kolbusz, who joined the then struggling D5 London in 2015, has directed a number of commercials at the agency, which may indicate his future.

Something of a throwback – he likes ads which entertain and sell – Kolbusz will be hard to replace. If he does leave agencies it will be a sign of a rather alarming brain drain. Engine Creative’s Billy Faithfull, another capable all rounder in an ever more digital world, announced he was stepping down last week.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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