David Kolbusz, the chief creative officer at Droga5 London, is leaving the agency for a new venture in the US.
Kolbusz joined Droga5 London as part of a rebooted management team in November 2015, alongside chief executive Bill Scott. At the time, David Droga described him as "one of the world’s best creative leaders".
Since then, the agency has swelled from 35 staff at the end of 2015 to 87 by the final day of 2021. It works with Amazon Alexa, Diet Coke and Barclaycard Business among other brands. Campaign named Kolbusz as its top creative leader in the UK in 2020.
Kolbusz said: "I look back on my time at Droga5 with an enormous amount of fondness and gratitude. Six or so years ago, David entrusted me with the task of transforming the creative fortunes of the London brand and – alongside more talented people than I could possibly name – we gave it our best shot.
"I was given more support and encouragement than anyone in my position could possibly wish for and I hope David and the wider Droga crew are as happy with the results as I am. The long-term strategy was to keep hiring people with the taste and talent to continue making great work irrespective of who left the building and I'm confident that in my absence the UK office will keep thriving.
"AS LONG AS THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF THE SERPENT’S EGG REMAINS INTACT.”
In a statement, Droga5 said: “David is returning Stateside for a new venture which, for contractual reasons, cannot be revealed at present but will be announced in the forthcoming weeks.”
In July 2020 Droga5 London promoted Shelley Smoler, then group creative director, to executive creative director. Before joining Droga5 in 2017, Smoler was a creative director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London.
At the time of her 2020 promotion, Kolbusz said: “To describe Shelley as ‘essential as food or drink’ would undervalue her contribution and undersell how joyful an experience it is to work with her."
Kolbusz directed 4Creative's Channel 4 Christmas ad alongside Biscuit's Jeff Low in 2020.
He has regularly written for and featured in Campaign including recalling the making of BBH London's "Three little pigs" through an imagined dialogue, his fashion, whether ads should be more honest about selling, how he stayed inspired during lockdowns and why Florida is so important to him.
At BBH London for four years from 2010, Kolbusz spent two years as creative director and partner before rising to deputy executive creative director in 2012, following the success of "Three little pigs" for The Guardian, which picked up a gold Film Lion and a gold Film Craft Lion as well as six silvers at Cannes.
Immediately prior to Droga5 London, Kolbusz was executive creative director at Wieden & Kennedy in New York, between May 2014 and November 2015.
A Canadian by birth, Kolbusz started his career at TBWA\Toronto in 2001 before moving to Mother in 2003, where he worked for four and a half years. He was then group creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners between 2007 to 2010.
Droga5 London's parent group, Accenture Interactive, recently promoted Scott to managing director across the UK and Ireland, following the departure of Karmarama's founder and chief executive, Ben Bilboul.
Scott retains his Droga5 role, but the other Accenture Interactive agencies, including Irish shop Rothco and Karmarama, will now report to him in his new position.
Kolbusz's exit follows the departure of chief strategy officer Dylan Williams earlier this year.