Embarrassment for Omnicom as Peter Arnell leaves Peter Arnell Group, is replaced by his wife and sues for return of million dollar ‘knicknacks’

Peter Arnell is the colourful boss of his eponymous design agency, founded in 1979 and sold to Omnicom a decade or so ago. He’s just left under acrimonious circumstances and is suing Omnicom for, among other things, a million dollar’s worth of ‘knicknacks’ that he claims he was allowed to accumulate on his own account.

He’s also been replaced as boss of Arnell Group by his wife, formerly the strategy director. On top of this he was recently voted the worst boss in New York and is blamed by some for decimating Tropicana fruit juice sales by recommending an injudicious change to its packaging.

Quite a charge sheet then but Arnell will doubtless argue that this is yet another case of a big marcoms company failing to understand what drives highly talented people, like him.

And, indeed, the marcoms biggies do seem to struggle with design firms. British design legends Rodney Fitch and Michael Peters have always found life in a structured corporate environment (I’m being polite here) difficult. Fitch was rudely dumped by WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell about a year ago.

No doubt we’ll be hearing more from Arnell.

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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.