Luca Gallarelli takes over from Sean Donovan as CEO of TBWA SA

16 September 2019 2 min. read
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Sean Donovan has vacated his role as CEO of TBWA South Africa to take over as President for the firm’s Asia practice, and has been replaced by Luca Gallarelli. As the new CEO, Gallarelli will handle a broad range of TBWA’s verticals in South Africa, including Magna Carta and Yellowwood.

Other TBWA practices that Gallarelli will overlook in his new role include TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris (the firm’s creative division), GRID (the firm’s design vertical). He also now takes charge of HDI Youth Marketeers, a youth consultancy that has been growing in profile in the South African market recently.

Gallarelli’s professional experience aligns perfectly with TBWA’s character as a global advertising agency that delves in a broad range of marketing and consulting services. As a graduate in Account & Brand Management, Gallerelli began his career at Ogilvy in Cape Town, where he spent two years and was made Account Director.

Luca Gallarelli, CEO of TBWA South Africa

He then joined The Jupiter Drawing Room as a Group Account Director for a brief period, before returning to Ogilvy as Business Director in 2007. He has been at Ogilvy since, ascending through the ranks. He took over as Director in 2009, Deputy Managing Director in 2012, and Managing Director in 2013.

Last year, he was named Group Managing Director at Ogilvy, a position that he will now vacate to take over at TBWA. Sean Donovan, who has been the CEO at TBWA up until now, announced in May this year that he would vacate the role to take over Presidency at the Asia practice. 

Speaking on Gallarelli’s appointment, Donovan said, “We are delighted to have Luca coming on board to lead the Group. He excels at creating environments where creativity can thrive, and understands the needs of both smaller, entrepreneurial companies and complex multinationals. He’s going to be a fantastic leader for clients, our people and our product. Most importantly, he is the right cultural fit - he’s ‘one of us.”

Gallarelli himself added, “TBWA has always stood out as a collective supremely confident in who it is and what it represents. Uncompromising in the talent that it attracts. Uncompromising in the quality of relationships that it fosters with its clients. And uncompromising in its quest for creative excellence. As someone who is deeply passionate about the creative product, this is something that I want to be a part of. Furthermore, the opportunity to work across a group of outstanding companies with an unparalleled breadth of capabilities and the proven ability to integrate was too compelling to pass up. I am humbled at the opportunity to be a part of this iconic agency collective’s story.”