Co-founder Ian Priest quits Chime’s VCCP

What’s former IPA president and VCCP co-founder Ian Priest going to do next?

618Priest (left) is leaving Chime Communications, the medium-sized UK marcoms company now mostly into sports-related activities, but being unfashionably gnomic about what he’s doing next.

He told Campaign: “Last month, I handed over the IPA presidency and it seemed an appropriate time to consider my future. I have been part of the Chime family for the last ten years, working across VCCP, Chime Ventures and CSM, and have enjoyed every minute. I hope to continue our relationship as I move into my new role, which I’m very excited about.”

Priest began his advertising career in the 80s at sales promotion agency IMP. He moved to Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury in 1993, rising to managing director. In 2002, Priest launched VCCP with Charles Vallance, Adrian Coleman and Rooney Carruthers. VCCP sold to Chime in 2005.

So it could be a start-up or a big role somewhere else. Chime’s biggest shareholder is WPP, although WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell hasn’t always agreed with the company’s strategy. Chime was founded by Lord (Tim) Bell and PR man Piers Pottinger and rapidly became one of the UK’s biggest PR operations. It bought one-time high-flying ad agency HHCL (and Priest) but that proved to be a disaster as HHCL imkploded as Bell and HHCL co-founder Rupert Howell bickered over who was in charge.

VCCP, acquired for about £15m, proved to be a much better investment. Bell and Pottinger quit the group with most of the PR business a couple of years ago, leaving it as primarily a sports marketing business helmed by Lord (Seb) Coe. WPP, though, recently started its own sports rights business, ESP, based partly on new UK acquisition Two Circles. A WPP bid for all of Chime is therefore a possibility.

At the IPA Priest launched his ADAPT agenda, a heroic attempt to persuade clients and agencies to work more closely together. In the process he impressed people on all sides of the industry. So his next move could be a big one.

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