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Chief creative officer, PwC.


Through his appearances on ABC1’s hugely successful show ‘The Gruen Transfer’ Russel has become the very public face of brand marketing and advertising in Australia. In fact according to media mogul, Harold Mitchell, Russel Howcroft has become a brand himself.

Indeed Harold Mitchell awarded Russel a much coveted Charlie Award on the basis of personal brand creation. And while Russel was pleased to be recognized in such a fashion, his mum was particularly pleased, as she is a Huge Harold fan!

Current work

The former Chairman of the Advertising Federation of Australia, and now the Chairman of AFTRS, Australian Film, Television & Radio School, he is a regular commentator on radio in Melbourne.

Previous experience

Advertising: Russel, former Chief Executive Officer Australia and New Zealand at Young & Rubicam Brands, fell in love with the advertising industry after doing a week's work experience at McCann Erickson while part way through a marketing degree at Chisholm Institute (now part of Monash University). His father had started working in advertising at the ripe old age of 45, after a career as a cartoonist and businessman, and he suggested that his son give it a go. Russel managed to extend his work experience into a full time job.

London: In his early 20s, Russel headed to London and spent five years working at Lowe Howard-Spink, one of Britain's top creative agencies. His major account was Heineken and Stella Artois beer, and his work on that account was considered one of Britain's best ad campaigns of its time.

Agency: Russel returned to Melbourne in 1995 and co-founded Leonardi Brandhouse. He spent the next 11 years running his own agencies with various partners before joining George Patterson Y&R, Australia's oldest agency brand, as CEO in 2006. The group includes The Campaign Palace, VML, ideaworks and Brand Asset consulting.

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