US Naked founder Paul Woolmington leaves after earn-out, company HQ shifts to New York

Paul Woolmington (pictured), who joined Naked Communications to set up its Naked Americas business in 2005, is leaving after completing his part of the four-year earn-out that followed the company’s sale to Australia’s Photon Group in 2007.

Quite how much Woolmington has earned isn’t known: Photon was hit by financial troubles that required a financial restructuring back in 2010. At the time Photon owed over $A300m to its bankers and vendors like Naked.

But Photon is still with us, as is Naked, which opened its 16th office around the world in Sao Paolo a couple of weeks ago. This is no mean achievement for a company that began as a UK ‘clever media’ specialist without a media buying arm (it now describes itself as a communications management company).

Remaining founder partner Jon Wilkins (the others were Will Collin and John Harlow) is moving from Australia to New York, partly to take over from Woolmington. Harlow joined Australia’s The Brand Agency in March. Naked is also shifting its company HQ from London to New York where co-chairman Steve Gatfield (formerly of Leo Burnett and Lowe) is based.

Woolmington says he is staying in New York to do something “exciting and entrepreneurial.” There seems to be an appetite among big US-based advertisers for clever media strategists: Naked partner Ivan Pollard landed a top marketing job at Coca-Cola back in 2010.

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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.