JOHANNESBURG – Ogilvy South Africa’s head of strategy, influence and public relations, Dustin Chick, has moved to M&C Saatchi Group South Africa to launch and run Razor, the group’s new PR agency.

M&C Saatchi Group South Africa is comprised of eight companies: M&C Saatchi Abel, M&C Saatchi Connect, M&C Saatchi Africa, Black & White, Dalmatian, Creative Spark, Levergy and now Razor. The group opened in 2010 and has offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Mike Abel, M&C Saatchi Abel founding partner and group CEO, said: “When we were looking to expand our service offering into the PR and influence space with Razor, we knew we needed to drastically differentiate ourselves from our competitors in an already overcrowded space to stand out. With Dustin’s innovative approach to and his recognition in developing reputation-changing narratives, he was a natural fit to take on this challenge.”

Chick, who has worked with clients including Anglo American, Audi, Avis, Western Union and Brand South Africa, said: “After almost 10 years at Ogilvy, it felt like the right time to take on a new challenge, personally and professionally. With M&C Saatchi Abel Group looking to expand its service offering into PR and communications, heading up Razor seemed like a no-brainer. I feel like a kid in a sweet shop.”

He told the Holmes Report: “The opportunity to develop a new agency and take it to market was too good to turn down. M&C Saatchi already has a very good presence in South Africa across advertising, social, digital, sports and entertainment, but it needs a standalone PR agency. We looked at acquiring but we decided to build from the ground up.

"It’s a slower route to scale but our priority is to be an agency that can help clients with the best possible blend of traditional PR delivery and being part of powerful, meaningful conversations, so they become trusted and resilient brands, products and organisations.”

Chick – who was recently named as one of the Holmes Report’s top 25 communications innovators across EMEA – will be based at M&C Saatchi Group South Africa’s Johannesburg Campus, but will work closely with all business units across Cape Town and Africa.

He added that the new PR business in South Africa was unaffected by M&C Saatchi Group recently merging its PR operations in the UK – M&C Saatchi Public Relations and Talk.Global – or the group being the subject of accounting investigations.