Oz agency stalwarts bow out of biz

Williams retires over health issues, Harper hands over reigns

SYDNEY — A generational shift is underway at Australia’s key creative agencies with industry stalwart Tony Williams shuttering his 20-year-old shingle, Anthony A. Williams Management, and Viccy Harper quitting the company she co-founded in 1985, HLA Management.

Williams, who started out in 1969 with the William Morris Agency in London, repped mostly scribes, helmers and composers, among them Michael Blakemore, Bruce Beresford and Donald Crombie. He has been forced to retire by ill health and chose to shutter rather than sell his WMA-affiliated shingle.

His associate Anthony Blair has joined the Cameron Creswell Agency, retaining his personal clients — mostly up-and-comer scribes — and expects to sign some of Williams’ heavyweights.

Activity surge

Reps of local directors and writers are experiencing tough times due to shrinking TV licensing fees, a scarcity of coin for domestic features and general industry malaise, but Blair told Daily Variety that he’s upbeat about the future.

“Despite the difficulties in raising finance the industry has a general feeling of more activity than last year,” he said.

At HLA, Kate Richter will assume Harper’s list of mostly writers and directors — notably Jane Campion, Gillian Armstrong and Neil Armfield — when Harper retires June 30. Harper, an agent since 1974, managed HLA with Hilary Linstead until Richter bought the biz five years ago.

At that time Linstead stepped back from day-to-day operations. Harper will do volunteer aid work and temp stints at the agency.