Agency staff were gathered together and informed of the decision made by Pelle Sjoenell, worldwide chief creative officer and Neil Munn, global chief executive and incoming chief executive of BBH London, to create a single point of creative leadership just after midday today.
Heartfield and Austin had shared the executive creative director role since July last year following Nick Gill’s decision to step back after 10 years running BBH’s creative department.
Heartfield and Austin were promoted from deputy executive creative directors and were only the fifth and sixth people to fill this position in BBH’s 25-year history. Heartfield has followed more of a traditional route to the top – he joined BBH in 2010 having worked at Ogilvy, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Fallon. Among others, his award-winning work includes "Birth" and "Clowns" for Audi, which won Campaign’s Creative Grand Prix in 2017. Audi is also shortlisted in the forthcoming 2018 IPA Effectiveness Awards.
Austin, meanwhile, is an editor and producer by background. He joined from Mother in 2015 to set up Black Sheep Studios, its in-house production arm and in 2017 won a Bafta for the short film Home.
Heartfield said: "There is a real creative momentum at BBH right now. And we are making and winning projects of a much more diverse nature than ever before. Plus the work is working, as the IPA shortlist shows.
"But this is just the beginning. We have some important decisions to make as we look to the future and shape the department and agency accordingly. To be the creative lead at a time of change like this is incredibly exciting and a big responsibility; one I don’t intend to take lightly."
Sjoenell added: "I’m very excited for the future of creativity in London under Ian’s brilliant leadership. I would also like to thank Anthony for his contribution to BBH in both his launch of our very successful in-house production company Black Sheep Studios, and our recent creative highlights. I wish him all the best in the new role."