Steve Gatfield leaving Naked Communications is about as surprising as Prince Charles choosing to sue sundry foreign magazines for publishing topless pictures of his daughter-in-law.
Gatfield (left) joined the once high-flying Naked in May last year as part of its latest attempt to create some kind of credible global raison d’etre. Naked, one of the first so-called ‘strategic’ media consultancies has been struggling for years and its ownership by similarly hard-pressed Australian media group Photon (now known as Enero as though that makes a difference) doesn’t seem to have helped.
Gatfield, one-time chairman of Lowe Worldwide, has gained something of a reputation over the years with marcoms owners as a troubleshooter although their high opinion isn’t always shared by the people who have worked for him. Photon/Enero clearly held the former view but his appointment as co-chairman with Jon Wilkins always looked a rather forlorn hope.
Enero lost $A142m in the year to August although some of this was due to selling companies for a fraction of the price it had paid. It now has $A21m in cash so may survive.
Gatfield, though, will have to work his magic elsewhere.