He joins Publicis Mojo in Auckland in the new role of executive creative director for Australia and New Zealand.
His appointment is part of an initiative by Dave Droga, the Publicis global executive creative director, to drive up the network's creative standards in the region.
"Publicis has a phenomenal client list and huge creative potential, nowhere more so than Australia and New Zealand," Droga said. "Creatively, this region has the opportunity to be the best in the world. Nick's appointment is the first step to us delivering on this."
Worthington, 40, will take up his new job in January, ending a seven-year association with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, where his output alongside the art director Paul Brazier included work for Dulux and Wrangler jeans.
His awards haul includes ten Cannes Lions, 11 D&AD Pencils and ten BTAA golds. He picked up three golds at this year's Cannes festival for the "two things at once" campaign for the Department of Transport.
At Mojo, he will be responsible for the region and work on key regional projects. But he stressed: "This isn't a management role. It's about me writing some great ads and helping others to do so."
Worthington has never before worked abroad during a 19-year career, which includes spells at Symington & Partners, Jenner Keating Becker and Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
But he said: "New Zealand is a country I visit regularly, where I have family and where I always intended to work one day."
He added: "Mojo has a good creative reputation but it seems to be off the boil at the moment. But there's a nice culture and, although budgets tend to be smaller in New Zealand, I'm told there are big opportunities to do great creative work that doesn't get killed off in research."