A couple of weeks ago we wrote that M&C Saatchi had got itself into a fine old muddle following the buy of digital agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine and the installation of its management as the top dogs at M&C. The fact that it lost Dixons and Direct Line – two of the UK’s biggest domestic accounts – in this period obviously didn’t help either.
Big changes were in order over Christmas, we surmised, and they’ve come a bit earlier than expected. The appointment of Justin Tindall (below) from Leo Burnett as M&C’s new ECD has been announced today rather than, as M&C hoped, in the first weeks of January.
M&C has laboured for a number of reasons, not least the absence of a convincing creative head since Graham Fink decided to join Ogilvy as CCO China in 2011. Tindall’s predecessor, Elspeth Lynn who has just joined FCB Inferno, hailed from a digital background. Digital may be where the money by volume is in agency land but not where fame, or big margins, reside. M&C, as a famous advertising agency, needs both to power the publicly-quoted group.
Leo Burnett in the UK is a class act, as is Tindall. It’s also a rather gentlemanly place and Tindall will have to adjust to the rather more boisterous atmosphere of M&C. But it’s an acknowledgement that M&C got it wrong by departing from its career path of highly visible ad campaigns, talked about loudly.
What other changes are in store? Lean Meaner Tom Bazeley, currently CEO of M&C, is staying it seems but we don’t know in what role. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if a heavyweight suit from a more traditional background was slipped in over Christmas to partner Tindall.