DDB’s Hayhurst takes the hot seat at Leagas Delaney

To be fair it’s not as hot as it used to be when a succession of suits found working with Leagas Delaney’s demanding founder and creative supremo Tim Delaney far too hot to handle but the agency’s newly-appointed London managing director, DDB’s James Hayhurst (pictured), is probably in for an interesting time.

Hayhurst joined DDB as a trainee in 2000 and has since worked extensively on DDB’s flagship Volkswagen account and excelled doing brainy DDB-type things such as writing medal-winning IPA papers. He says: “Leaving an agency with the pedigree of DDB wasn’t an easy decision, but the opportunity to broaden the creative output at Leagas Delaney is truly exciting.” Does Tim agree the creative output needs broadening? Careful, James.

Leagas Delaney was founded in 1980 by Delaney and former Saatchi & Saatchi managing director Ron Leagas. For a while it was one of the brightest stars among a gaggle of creative agencies, the so-called ‘second wave,’ which also included Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Simons Palmer and WCRS.

But it failed to win the sort of really big accounts that BBH and WCRS did and embarked a series of rather precipitous deals in a bid to become a global network. Rather to one’s surprise it has mostly succeeded, London now being the hub of a network employing around 250 people in Hamburg, Milan, Prague, Shanghai and Tokyo as well as London.

Much of the credit for this should go to group CEO Margaret Johnson, as well as highly-talented veteran Delaney of course. Johnson seems to be a serious business person (she’s a non-executive director of Insurance giant Admiral) who has succeeded in steering the agency away from the rocks it used to encounter so regularly.

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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.