There are some strange doings at M&C Saatchi. Last year the agency, now well-establshed in London and the proud owner of an international network as well as a stock market quote, bought digital agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine for an estimated £10m.
Not a big price but, then, the agency wasn’t that big.
Now it looks as though it was, in fact, a reverse takeover by LMFM of M&C in London. Lean Mean’s Tom Bazeley has taken over as CEO from Camilla Harrison who departed for Anomaly’s new London office while the creative department has undergone a wholesale reconstruction with ECD Elspeth Lynn (left) departing, to be replace by a quartet of Mark Goodwin, Jason Lawes, Sam Ball and Dave Bedwood.
The reason? According to CEO Bazeley: “In a communications world where ideas can come in many shapes and sizes. I want the person making the ultimate creative decisions to be deeply involved in the account.
“They will need the time and space to understand the business challenges, provide inspiration, write ideas, encourage innovation, nurture people and deliver smart, brilliant and newsworthy ideas. Having one person working at a very high level isn’t the way to achieve this.”
Lynn, who succeeded Graham Fink when he decamped to be CCO of Ogilvy in China, is said (by the agency) to agree with this decision.
M&C has had a rough year in London, losing Dixons to AMV BBDO and Direct Line to (ouch!) Saatchi & Saatchi. The agency has also dropped out of the top ten by billings for the first time in decades, down to 15 on £131m. None of this prevented the four founding partners Maurice Saatchi, Bill Muirhead, David Kershaw and Jeremy Sinclair voting themselves a £9m share award a couple of weeks ago.
This must be something of a strain on the company’s coffers, given that its month-by-month income must have dropped, although it did trouser a sizeable amount when it sold 75 per cent of Walker Media to Publicis Groupe.
Lynn’s departure may also have something to do with cost saving.