Above & Beyond co-founder David Billing departs

He will not be replaced as group chief creative officer at parent group The Beyond Collective.

Billing: former cellist and pop music producer
Billing: former cellist and pop music producer

David Billing, the founding partner and group chief creative officer of The Beyond Collective, is leaving the group after eight years.

Billing co-founded creative ad agency Above & Beyond in 2012 and retained a significant equity stake in The Beyond Collective, the “micro-network” of marketing service companies that the business became part of in 2018. 

The company said Billing is leaving to "pursue other opportunities". 

The former concert cellist and Universal Music producer is credited with a key role in the company’s new-business wins in recent years, including UK ad accounts for Subway, Beagle Street and Ornua Foods (owner of the Pilgrims Choice and Kerrygold brands).

Billing’s creative campaign highlights include “For the Love Of The Game" for Betway, “Moments” for Amazon Music Unlimited, and “Cheese Dreams” for Pilgrims Choice.

Zaid Al-Zaidy, chief executive of The Beyond Collective, said: “Dave has accomplished so many great things and has been a crucial part of our success story to date. 

“We have a great deal of affection and respect for him and I know the whole company will join me in wishing him all the success he deserves in his new venture.”

Dominic Goldman was appointed executive creative director of Above & Beyond in September. Al-Zaidy confirmed there would be no replacement for Billing as group chief creative officer.

Billing founded Above & Beyond alongside Nicholas Ost, who remains at The Beyond Collective as chief operating officer. The duo sought to create an “agency for the audience age” that would make advertising more relevant at a time when more people were blocking ads online and becoming less receptive to TV spots. 

Al-Zaidy, Billing and Ost are listed as people with more than 25% and less than 50% control of The Beyond Collective, according to Companies House. The company would not comment on how Billing’s departure would impact this.

Billing and Ost sought to bring a different perspective to creative marketing services because of their non-traditional backgrounds as creative agency founders.

Billing had experience as a songwriter and music producer for Universal Music Publishing before turning his hand to TV script writing and working with brands like Lovefilm and Betway at the entertainment marketing specialists Creative Partnership.

Ost worked with Billing at Creative Partnership, where he was latterly head of business development, after a stint at Perfunktory Group, a digital media agency.

“The journey over the last eight years has been exhilarating,” Billing added. ”I’m proud to have seen the company grow so much in that time – from a start-up creative agency to a micro-network of companies. We are now in great shape for the future and I can confidently handover the baton to the excellent teams around me.”