Avantgarde London adds two senior hires amid growth


Brand experience agency Avantgarde London has named Rachel Lewandowska (formerly Bateman) as Client Services Director and Steve Hickery as the agency’s new Creative Director. 

The hires come following a wave of growth for the agency, with 11 new hires across the client services, creative, digital, new business and operational teams over the last two months.

Avantgarde Directors

Lewandowska brings with her a wealth of integrated marketing experience, following a 12-year stint at Initials CX, specifically from her role as Head of Experiential, which she held since 2015. 

As part of the senior leadership team at Initials CX, she was also responsible for people and culture, which she will continue to focus on at Avantgarde alongside her wider remit. 

Utilising her management experience to support the ever-growing team, Lewandowska will work closely with Lesley Anne Bleakney, Avantgarde’s new Chief People Officer.

Reporting into Avantgarde London’s MD, Stuart Bradbury, Lewandowska will work on clients including eBay, Porsche, Credit Suisse, Honda, La Espanola and Bridgestone, utilising her FMCG and alcohol expertise on behalf of the UK and global teams.

Hickery will be working into Avantgarde’s previous Creative Director, Steve Austen-Brown, who has now taken on the role of Head of Design and Creative. 

Coming from his previous role as Creative Director at Glock, Hickery will be responsible for specific clients including Jaguar Land Rover, Credit Suisse, eBay and Bridgestone – with a particular focus on helping drive agency new business.

“I’m delighted to join the Avantgarde team in London”, Lewandowska said. 

“I’ve always loved being part of an independently run business where I can really make an impact. Avantgarde has the advantage of a strong global presence and I’m particularly looking forward to working with our new global CPO. 

“I believe an agency’s success starts with its people, so having the opportunity to nurture and grow the Client Services team is super motivating.

“We’ve made some great strategic hires recently to broaden the Avantgarde offering, with expertise is retail, digital and storytelling. I’m excited to work with such a diverse team.”

Hickery said: “My role at Avantgarde is to bring powerful storytelling and emotion to the spaces we design – putting the audience at the heart of the brand narrative to create personal and memorable brand/audience interaction. 

“The breadth of work and opportunity to tell richer stories within more immersive spaces was the driving force behind my move – working on a broader experiential scope across multiple verticals is an exciting prospect.”

Stuart Bradbury, Head of International Management + MD of Avantgarde London, said: “It’s great to welcome Rachel and Steve to Avantgarde as we continue to grow our agency across client services and creative. 

“Rachel has an exciting and successful track record in brand experience, and we look forward to the wealth of expertise she will bring to our clients, alongside bringing a fresh perspective to the client services and senior management team. 

“I am also excited to have Steve join our creative team and we look forward to him applying his creative storytelling skillset to our offering.”