Pearson says the decision has not been easy, but strongly believes that as South African advertising finds a greater and more powerful voice rooted in the population and market it serves, it is the right time for Brave Group to find new creative leadership that represents what she calls “the country and the continent’s exciting spirit of the age”.
Pearson remains a shareholder of the company and will continue to sit on the Board. From a single ad agency offering and just one client, Brave Group now comprises companies across several key disciplines, including digital marketing, experiential marketing, public relations, retail marketing and media.
Pearson is one of South Africa’s most awarded creatives and a respected awards judge both locally and internationally. Ahead of the appointment of a new executive creative director, the group will appoint an internal committee to immediately oversee and manage output.
Pearson says the highlights of her time at Brave Group were when the agency started in what she calls an ugly office, with cheap furniture, and high optimism; and then the empowerment deal four years ago led by group chairman Andile Khumalo, group CEO Karabo Songo and partner Musa Kalenga, who brought passion and entrepreneurial energy to the company.
Pearson also pays tribute to co-founder and current group operations director Andrew Shuttleworth, whose business acumen she says laid the foundation for the company’s current growth trajectory.
Pearson plans to take time off to recharge her batteries, read books, not work until two in the morning and dip a toe back into studying.
Group CEO Karabo Songo says, “Vanessa’s departure comes with our blessing and deep appreciation for helping start, build and sustain the foundation of what the group has become. Her departure paves the way for new creative leadership, as well as new players to be introduced at a senior level to the industry.”
Founding partner Shuttleworth says, “Vanessa is and remains a creative force in the country and much of our success has been because of her tireless efforts. I wish her strength and happiness going forward.”