Saatchi Fallon’s Robert Senior hits back at former allies Green and Flintham

Robert Senior, current CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon, formed Fallon in the UK with Laurence Green and Richard Flintham, among others. And very well they did too, creating award-winning work for Cadbury and Sony Bravia among others.

But planner Green and creative Flintham have decided to go their own way and open a new agency in 2011 with former Cadbury marketing director Phil Rumbol as one of their partners.

It’s all very embarrassing for Publicis-owned Saatchis that this brouhaha has brewed up in the week that S&S and M&C Saatchi, the agency brothers Charles and Maurice Saatchi set up when they were ejected from the original Saatchis in 1994, buried their differences to the extent of hosting a joint 40th birthday party.

Robert Senior, who is now in charge of the merged Fallon/Saatchi entity in the UK might have been expected to join his old chums but instead he’s fighting back, hiring Fallon’s former BBC client Gail Gallie as CEO of Fallon and saying it’s his ‘moral and fiduciary duty’ to make Fallon as good as it can be.

The clear implication being that moral and fiduciary duties didn’t weigh heavily with messrs Green and Flintham. Clearly the old chums aren’t as friendly as once they were. And it’ll be fiduciary issues that prevent Green and Flintham’s so-far unnamed agency opening until 2011.

As for the appointment of Gallie, well it’s a funny one. She was head of BBC marketing from 1998 to 2006, when the Beeb was an enthusiastic client of Fallon. Since then she’s been running a consultancy with former ITV communications head Jim Godfrey. Before all of this she worked on the Labour Party account at BMP.

So she’s obviously clever and all that but hardly, on the face of it, the most obvious choice to rally the remaining troops at Fallon who will obviously be feeling a bit bereft about all this. An old-style agency bruiser might have been more appropriate but maybe the combative Senior is going to handle this.

As ever with these things the key is how clients respond. Fallon has lost Sony Bravia to Anomaly so the big remaining two are Cadbury (who may or may not wish to be re-united with Mr Rumbol) and the 2012 Olympics assignment, on which it’s made a good start with its ‘spots versus stripes’ campaign.

But it doesn’t have a creative director. So that’s the first job for Gallie and Senior.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.