After spending 19 years growing Magna Carta from the ground up, Annemarie McKay Ichikowitz, a founding member and CEO of the company for the last three years will be leaving at the end of March 2013.
Succeeding her will be Vincent Magwenya, a long-serving member of the executive team. The change will see the company gearing up for new ever-evolving communication challenges in South Africa and further afield.
"It is not easy to leave a company that you have built and which has become everything that you stand for, especially when you have been involved from the beginning, seeing it grow and finally reach the point where it has become acknowledged as an industry leader.
"However, it is when a company has reached a position of eminence in its industry that it is appropriate to hand over the reins. A successor and the management team are then left with a solid foundation on which to build. By driving fresh perspectives, different insights and new ways of approaching things into the CEO's position, a successor is well placed to leverage the company into a new growth phase.
"The agency has reached this point in its history and it is appropriate that Magwenya will formally take office on 1 April. He is well suited to the task ahead and with the support of a strong management team will undoubtedly take the agency to its next level," says Ichikowitz.Driving development and expansion
The planned succession of Magwenya to the position of CEO began early in 2012 when he assumed some of the responsibilities of the CEO's office, working parallel with Ichikowitz, as well as delivering effectively on his responsibilities as divisional head for Africa.
Magwenya has been working with Ichikowitz and Bouwer, driving the development and expansion of the agency's footprint into Africa. Commenting on the announcement, Bouwer says the appointment is in line with the group's evolving growth and strengthening of the management team.
"Ichikowitz' legacy to me as CEO and to the management and staff is a company that has a solid 'blue-chip' client base offering globally aligned and innovative PR services. Complementing this is a company that, as part of the TBWA Group, has become Africa's premier PR company - a fact attested to by its being named Finweek 'PR Agency of the Year' for four consecutive years and recently short listed by the Paul Holmes 2013 EMEA PR Industry Report for Africa Agency of the Year," says Magwenya.
Ichikowitz was also instrumental in developing the relationship with Ketchum, which as a global PR agency, works with Magna Carta as its exclusive partner in Arica. This relationship has added tremendous value to both parties.African growth planned
"In the 19 years of its existence, when it was originally founded as Msomi Hunt Lascaris in 1994, the company has set the standard by which others are measured. The next phase of growth will be to consolidate its expansion into strategic African markets, drive its digital and social media offering and lead the industry with its measurement and analytics product offering.
"This will ensure that the business continues to enhance its capabilities to further assist clients who have operations on the continent, and further abroad, who require a seamless service that spans sub-Saharan and South Africa - this is what is so exciting about this business and the opportunities that will drive growth into the future," commented Ichikowitz.
Magwenya reinforced this by adding, "Our plans in this regard are well advanced and the management team is focused and motivated in terms of driving innovation and growth. Further announcements in terms of how this is playing out will be made shortly.
"My thanks for the support and advice offered to me during my years at the agency go to both Ichikowitz and her original partner, Michele Anderson, who together built it into what it is today. I take over as CEO, knowing that I have a great legacy and great accomplishments to build on." Powerful history
Magwenya has 18 years of combined journalism and corporate communications experience, working for companies such as Reuters Television, Worldwide Television News (now known as Associated Press Television News), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, based in Washington DC, the SABC as executive producer of Morning Live, Standard Bank Group and the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa
In 2006, he was appointed business development director at the agency, a role that focused on the development and leadership of an Africa network of PR companies to service its clients operating in the continent. He was also responsible for providing strategic counsel to clients and leading different account teams on the formulation and execution of editorial strategies and crisis communications management plans. In 2007, he was appointed to the board of directors of Magna Carta.