DDB NZ managing director Chris Willingham to join R.M.Williams as chief marketing officer

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DDB NZ managing director Chris Willingham to join R.M.Williams as chief marketing officer

Iconic Australian footwear and clothing company has snared global marketing leader Chris Willingham from DDB New Zealand for chief marketing officer role.


Willingham, who was previously managing director of DDB New Zealand, brings more than 25 years of international brand experience to the company. He will join R.M.Williams’ senior leadership team to help drive the next phase of growth across national and international markets for the legendary 89-year-old South Australian-based company.

Prior to joining DDB New Zealand, he was global director on Nike at Wieden + Kennedy Portland, overseeing campaigns for the 2016 Olympics and 2018 World Cup, amongst others. Willingham’s experience also includes leading BBDO’s Singaporean hub and spending nine years at Fallon in London where, as managing partner, he led the delivery of internationally renowned campaigns such as Cadbury ‘Gorilla’, Sony ‘Balls’ and Sony ‘Paint’. His seven-year stint at TBWA London running the pan-European PlayStation account was bookended by the award-winning ‘Double Life’ and ‘Fun, anyone?’ campaigns.

Says Willingham: “I’m incredibly excited to be given stewardship of such a famous, culturally important brand. I bought my first pair of Craftsman boots when I travelled through Sydney during the 90’s and fell in love with R.M.Williams there and then. This is a unique, once-in-a-career opportunity and it’ll be an absolute privilege to work together with the R.M.Williams team to lead the brand through the next stage of its evolution.”

In 2020, Tattarang acquired 100% of R.M.Williams to bring the brand back into Australian hands for the first time since 2014. Today the brand has a growing international following and is sold in more than 15 countries with 74 stores and 784 stockists.

Says Tattarang chief investment officer John Hartman welcomed the appointment, saying Mr Willingham’s role will be critical in accelerating the brand’s new growth strategies across digital channels and international markets. Willingham will commence with R.M.Williams in the coming weeks.