Poynton, 37, is expected to take up the post in mid-May. The New Zealander replaces Steve Dunn who was ousted last September, three months after the departure of O&M's former chief executive, Paul Simons. The position has been caretaken by the creative director Dennis Lewis. Poynton takes charge of a department comprising six other creative directors besides Lewis.
The appointment sees Poynton returning to the UK, where he has spent lengthy periods, including a stint as the deputy creative director at M&C Saatchi between 1996 and 2001, and freelancing at O&M before that. He first moved to London in 1990 as an art director at BBDO.
Paul Jackson, O&M's chief executive, said: "Malcolm is a highly talented creative person in his own right and I like the fact that he talks about ideas rather than execution. That's important to us, not only as an agency but also as an organisation."
Poynton's appointment is designed to raise the agency's creative profile. While Jackson acknowledged this had slipped, he added: "We're not looking for a man with a magic wand. There are several components for producing great work: you also need insightful thinking and a creative person who can make that thinking come alive. Malcolm completes a line-up."
Poynton joined Saatchis in Sydney in 2001 with a brief to turn the agency round within four years. He is acknowledged to have made significant changes in half that time.
If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.