SYDNEY — Honner managing director Paul Cheal has exited the agency amid larger restructuring of its senior leadership team.

In announcing the changes, Honner said that Cheal resigned from his MD and partner role after nine years with the firm but will continue to work on projects as an independent consultant.

“I would like to thank our wonderful colleague Paul for his substantial contribution to building our agency over the past decade,” said founder Philippa Honner. “Our strong culture and continued growth is in part a result of Paul and fellow partner Susie Bell’s commitment to building a talented team with a laser focus on delivering great client outcomes, and we look forward to continuing to work with Paul going forward.”

Judith Bence, who joins Honner June 1 in a newly created chief operating officer role, will assume most of Cheal’s daily responsibilities, which include overseeing Honner’s 22-person staff, running agency operations and working with clients.  She also will lead the firm’s growing opportunities in Asia, given her experience working across regional markets.

Bence (pictured), who joins from Sandpiper Communications, is one of several new hires Honner has made as part of the Australian firm’s effort to expand regional opportunities and expertise.

The others include Barry Rafe, who brings 30 years of experience in Australia’s financial sector to the role of non-executive director; Samantha Rockliff, who joins as an account director from AMP; Christine St Anne, who joined in April as head of content; and Harrison Worley, who joined in April as a consultant.