Taking my name off the door - Tom Buchan


Early Goals

When I started ‘Buchan’ over three decades ago, one of the long-term aims was to transport the business into global territory. My motivation was partly ego driven and partly the realisation that scale (of one’s enterprise) provides benefits for both clients and employees.

Looking back on the early years, branding and structure of the agency did not get much thought. I focused on building the business, having some influence and impact while maintaining agility to move on opportunities with alacrity.

My goals were simple, albeit challenging:

  • Grow my clients
  • Provide high quality, ‘high touch’ service
  • Expand continually by building great teams loaded with talent and loyalty

Having my name as the agency’s brand gave me not only gravitas in the world of business, but it also made me ultimately responsible for quality control over all our offerings and services. I knew the business ‘inside out’.

The Best Advice

I’ve always taken advice from other successful leaders. One of the best pieces of advice came from a prominent Australian who told me bluntly: “Put a time limit on your days as leader, and remember, it’s never too early to introduce succession planning to advance the next generation of leaders.”

Most businesses in this country fail dismally in managing succession planning; their leaders underestimate the degree of difficulty in stepping off the decision-making pedestal, allowing younger, energetic, and probably more driven professionals to take responsibility for the financial and operational health of the company.

Our Future

Our succession planning has been progressing, almost seamlessly, over the past three to four years with Rebecca Wilson and Gemma Hudson together with the leadership group forging a new, growth-oriented direction with our business partner WE’s imprimatur. The final step in my own professional transition, indeed our collective transformation into a truly global enterprise, is to drop the ‘Buchan’ name in recognition of our future in the WE family.

Taking one’s name ‘off the door’ definitely requires a paradigm shift in attitude and thinking, with acceptance of the future belonging to advancing generations of talented, motivated, visionary leaders in communication. In WE Buchan’s business plan, this also recognises that fulfilling our original purpose of serving clients with high quality and close attention, fundamentally depends on ‘best in world’ practices and methodologies.

I am not a sentimentalist. I recognise the imperative for change, always. Our new identity, together with renewed investment in its promotion over the coming months, represents our continuing evolution as a leading communication agency, not only in our region but in many parts of our planet.

- Tommy Buchan